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IND 09-6155 

1 Larfeuil, Marie Joseph Short instructions for every Sunday of the year and for the principal 
feasts. From the French by Rev New York, [etc.] Benziger Brothers, 1 897. 

2 Koch, Anton, 1 859- 1 9 1 5 . A handbook of moral theology. Adapted and edited by Arthur 
Preuss. St. Louis, MO : B. Herder, [c 191 8- 1924]. Vol(s) 1-5 








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Larfeuil, Marie Joseph 


Short instructions for every Sunday 
of the year and for the principal 
feasts. From the French by Rev 


New York, [etc . 1 1897. 

IND 09-6155-01 


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aBX1756|b.L37413 1897 

a Larfeuil, Marie Joseph 

a Short instructions for every Sunday of the year and for the principal feasts. |c From the French by Rev. 

Thomas F. Ward. 

a New York, [etc.] |b Benziger Brothers, |c 1897. 
a352, 15p. ; |c20cm. 
a Church year sermons. 

a Ward, Thomas F., |e tr. y 

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From the French by 


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New York, Cincinnati, Chicago: 

benzige:r brothers, 

printers to the Holy Apostolic See. 


•Wibtl ©betau 

Thos. L. Kinkead, 

Censor Librorum. 


•|i Michael Augustine, 

Archbishop of Neia York, 

New York, February 5, 1897, 



Copyright, X897, by Benziger Brothers 

THINK it is true to say that at no time in the 

history of the Church, from the days of our 

blessed Saviour to this very hour, has the word 

of God been more industriously proclaimed than at 

the present. And this is particularly true of our 

own country. 

The time was, and in our own recollection, when 
the faithful assembled and assisted at the holy 
sacrifice, and immediately departed. They were 
fully satisfied that the law of the Church had been 
complied with. They rarely, if ever, heard the 
gospel or the epistle read in the vernacular. The 
time was too limited, or the priest was burdened 
with other and pressing duties which would not 
allow of delay. Both priest and people were 
obliged to content themselves with a scant fulfil- 
ment of the Sunday precept. 

But this condition has ceased. The priests are now 
more numerous, and the arrangements for Sunday 
services have been perfected . There is now scarcely 
an assembly of the faithful where the word of God 
is not spoken. Our holy father, Leo XIII. , ever 
watchful for the spiritual welfare of his flock, has 
directed that even at the Low Masses on Sunday, 

4 Introduction, 

some instruction should be invariably given to the 
faithful. -No arguments are needed to convince us 
of the wisdom which prompted this command. 

This thought it was which suggested the transla- 
tion of these "Short Instructions/' in the hope that 
they might prove helpful to the busy priest, and 
even useful to the pious laity ; and thereby sup- 
plement the work of religious instruction which is 
now so zealously carried on by the priests, and so 
much appreciated by the people. 

After reading, these " Instructions** in the orig- 
inal, I did not hesitate to give them an English garb, 
as I found them well calculated both to instruct and 
to edify. The choice of subjects, the manner in 
which they are treated, the practical details, the 
correct and sometimes even elegant style, the sound 
doctrine, — in a word, to my mind, they possessed 
everything necessary to impart a knowledge of 
true devotion, and the means to advance in the way 
of perfection. 

Therefore, in the hope that they may prove to 
others as useful as they have been to me, I respect- 
fully submit these instructions to the kind consid- 
eration of priests and people. 

T. F. W. 

^--"'■"■■,jEr~' ■■'- 



The Two Advents 9 


Jesus an Object of Scandal 15 

St. John the Baptist a Model of Humility, . . . .20 

The Dispositions for the Feast of Christmas 25 

The Stable of Bethlehem, 31 


Prophecy of Simeon Concerning Jesus and Mary, • . .36 


The Holy Name of Jesus, ....... 42 


The Faith of the Wise Men . .48 

Jesus is Found in the Temple. 54 

The Divinity^ of Christ Proved by His Miracles, . . .59 


Jesus Heals the Leper, . . , . ... . . 66 


The Tempest Appeased by Jesus, . . . . • .71 

The Mingling of the Good and the Wicked, . . . . 76 

6 Contents. 


The Establishment of the Church, . 


The Parable of the Laborers and the Vineyard, 


The Word of God 



spiritual Blindness, 

Preparation for Death, 

The Institution of the Lenten Time, 

Docility in Following the Voice of Jesus, 

Jesus Expels the Dumb Devil, . . . ' 

On Providence, . . . . .1 

The Testimony which Jesus Gives of Himself, 


The Cenacle, 

The Resurrection, 

The Peace which Jesus Brings to the World, 

Jesus the Good Shepherd, . . . 

On Afflictions, 

Our Love for Jesus, 


. 82 

. 88 

. 93 

. 98 

. 103 

. 108 

• 114 
. 119 
. 125 

• 131 

. 137 

. 143 
. 148 


. 158 


Contents. 7 


On Prayer. . ^7o 


The Holy Ghost, . . . ... . • .176 


On the Mystery, 182 


On the Mystery, • . . 188 

Our Duties towards the Trinity . 194 


The Institution of the Feast and Our Duties, . . .199 

Real Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Eucharist, . . .205 

Devotion to the Sacred Heart, . . . . • .211 


On the Church, 217 

On Christian Justice 223 


Confidence in God, 229 


On False Prophets . . • .235 

The Parable of the Unjust Steward 241 

Jesus Weeps over Jerusalem, 247 

The Pharisee and the Publican, .253 

The Deaf Mute, . .259 

8 Contents, 


The Good Samaritan, 265 


The Ten Lepers, . . . . • 271 

"Behold the Lilies of the Field and the Birds of the Air," . 277 


The Widow's Son Restored to Life 282 

On Humility 288 

Motives for Loving Jesus, 294 

Jesus Heals the Paralytic, • . . 301 


The Wedding -Feast, . 307 

Jesus Heals the Son of the Officer • 313 


The Insolvent Servant 319 


Render to Caesar the Things which are Caesar's, . . . 325 


Resurrection of the Daughter of Jairus, 331 

The Trials of the Church 337 

Difficulties and Recompense of Sanctity, • • • • 343 

Commemoration of the Dead, • • 348 




•pirst Point, — At the beginning of the holy season 
of Advent, we are naturally led to consider 
• • the two comings of our blessed Saviour. The 
first, when He conies to save men ; and the second, 
when He shall come to judge them. These two 
comings are attended by very different circum- 
stances. In the first, it is a hidden God, who 
seems to fear manifesting Himself, and He veils 
His majesty under the charms of infancy. In the 
second, it shall be a terrible God, who will appear 
in splendor. His voice will resound as thunder, 
and will cause the powers of heaven to tremble. 
In the first coming the prophets represent Him to 
us as a gracious King, who comes in all kindness ; 
but in the other coming, they show Him to us with 
thunderbolts in His hands and indignation in His 
face. At the first coming, the shepherds and wise 
men kiss His feet and contemplate Him with love, 
while the angels invite men to rejoice. " Behold, 
I announce to you tidings of great joy.'* Angels 

-'■*'•■ •^«. 


First Sunday of Advent, 

The Two Advents. 


also will come to announce Him at the end of time, 
but they will announce Him by a terrifying 
trumpet-sound, which shall awaken the dead in 
their tombs. At Bethlehem, everything calls for 
love and confidence, but at the end of the world 
everything will inspire fear and terror. At His 
first coming, the poor swaddling-clothes shall be 
the sign by which He will be recognized, but at His 
second coming, the sun eclipsed and the moon 
stained by blood shall be the signs of His advent. 
The first coming takes place in the silence of the 
night; the other, amid thunder and lightning. 
At Bethlehem, He is in a manger, in the stable; 
but then, He will be on a throne and will come 
in a brilliant cloud. What relations can these two 
comings have, so widely different in their circum- 
stances and in their objects, that the Church, which 
does nothing except in profound wisdom, begins 
the holy season, when she prepares her children 
for the coming of Christ the Saviour, by the spec- 
tacle of Jesus as our Judge ? She wishes that the 
remembrance of the one should serve as a prepara- 
tion for the other. By fear of the judgments which 
Jesus shall render as sovereign Judge of the uni- 
verse, she wishes to determine our rebellious hearts 
to profit by the mysteries of love which Jesus our 
Liberator will teach us. Fear smooths the way 
to love, and we shall understand better the benefit 
of redemption in all its extent when we shall be 
vividly impressed by the rigor of those judgments 
from which this benefit will preserve us. Let us, 

therefore, enter into the spirit of the Church, our 
mother, and by contemplating Jesus in the clouds 
which will serve as a tribunal, we shall dispose 
ourselves to adore Him in the manger which serves 

Him as a cradle. 

Second Point.— Let us consider the signs which 
shall announce the second coming of the Son of 
God, and the principal circumstances which will 
accompany His coming. The sun will refuse its 
light to terrified men ; the moon will appear as if 
stained by blood ; the sea in frightful convulsions, 
threatening to overflow its barriers; densest dark- 
ness will cover the earth as with a thick veil of 
mourning ; angels will come to announce that the 
end of time has arrived— the human race awaiting, 
in consternation, in frightful anxiety, the end which 
these sad signs foretell. 

However, the destruction of the universe is not 
the most appalling in the last scenes which will 
terminate all the scenes of the world. For what is 
it, after all, that the world should be effaced, when 
we know that it must perish? But on the ruins of 
the world, the Son of man, announced by so many 
prodigies, preceded by justice, surrounded by maj- 
esty, comes from heaven in all the pomp of His 
power, in the midst of the acclamations of the heav- 
enly court, who attend Him ! What a contrast be- 
tween glory and destruction, between life and death ! 
Behold the picture which the Prophet Daniel has 
made of it: "I beheld attentively, until the thrones 
were placed, and the Ancient of days was seated. 


First Sunday of Advent, 

His throne was like flames of fire and its wheels of 
burning fire. A swift stream of fire issued forth 
from before Him. A million of angels ministered 
to Him and a thousand million stood before Him. 
The Judge is seated and the books were opened. I 
beheld one like the Son of man advance towards the 
Ancient of days ; and they presented them before 
Him. And they gave Him honor, power, and 
kingdom, and all peoples, tribes, and tongues shall 
serve Him. His power is an everlasting power 
which shall not be taken away from Him, and His 
Kingdom shall not be destroyed. My spirit trem- 
bled. I, Daniel, was affrighted at these things." 
And who shall not be terrified? O my God, be- 
hold me at Thy feet, seized with terror at the re- 
membrance of Thy judgments ! Have pity on me 
before the day of Thy vengeance arrives, for on 
that day there shall be no longer pity or pardon. 

Third Point, — Let us consider the rigor with _' 
which Jesus shall deal towards impenitent sinners 
on the day of His justice. He will command His 
angels to separate the wicked from the elect, as if 
they were unclean animals. He will place before 
their eyes the iniquities which have stained their 
miserable lives; and when He shall have con- 
founded them before the eyes of the whole world. 
He will turn on them the eyes of His majesty. 
But who could endure the weight of His avenging 
looks? How true it is to say that sinners shall im- 
plore the mountains to crush them and death. to 
annihilate them! But no, this will not happen; 

The Two Advents, 


• « 

they must endure the agony of His terrible gaze, 
they must live to render by their sufferings eternal 
homage to that justice which they have so shame- 
fully outraged. 

To understand to what extent sinners are hide- 
ous in the eyes of God, it will suffice to meditate 
on the first word He will address them. It is a 
word of indignation and disgust: "Depart from 
Me," and His voice, like to thunder-sound, shall re- 
sound to the extremities of the earth . At this anath- 
ema hell rejoices at the victims which are given 
and the demons rush forth to receive their prey. 
A saint thought he heard a voice issue from the 
throne of God to plead the cause of the sinner, and 
the following dialogue ensued: "Lord, dost Thou 
not recognize the work of Thy hands, and Thy 
privileged creature? O my God, suspend Thy sen- 
tence and Thy vengeance. These whom Thou re- 
jectest are the very ones for whom Thou didst die ; 
they are Thy children, the heirs to Thy Kingdom." 
But He answers: "I do not know them! They 
have blasphemed My name, they have despised 
My love, they are ingrates. They have employed 
My very gifts against Me, and now I have cursed 
them. Depart from Me forever." " But, O my God, 
behold their tears, hear their lamentations. They 
form a large part of Thy children! Do not allow 
them to perish forever." But He answers: " Have 
they not outraged Me? Indeed they weep, but it 
is with rage, not in love. How often have I spqken 
to their hearts, how often have I tried to lead them 


First Sunday of Advent, 

back to Me, and they have closed their ears to My 
voice. Now I curse them, let them go far from 
My presence. Depart, ye cursed!*' 

O my God, I am not astonished, if the remem- 
brance of Thy judgments has converted so many 
sinners, peopled the deserts with holy anchorites, 
and wrung tears from so many holy penitents. Is 
it possible to weep too bitterly for the faults which 
must be expiated in hell, unless they are expiated 
here on earth? My God, what shall be my misfor- 
tune, if, after having reflected on the terrors and 
the regrets which will follow Thy second coming, 
I shall not profit by the means of salvation which 
the first coming affords me ! Do not permit it, O 
my God, and grant that I may never abuse Thy 
love and Thy mercy. 



'T'HE 'disciples of St. John came to ask of Jesus if 
* He were the Messias so long promised to the 
. . . world. He answered them by working mir- 
acles, and added : '•' Blessed is he who shall not be 
scandalized in Me." What a sorrow it is to think 
that the amiable Son of God could be an object of 
scandal for any one ! We will now consider how 
frequent is this scandal and how criminal it is. 

First Point, — It is indeed strange that Jesus and 
His religion should be an object of scandal and 
contradiction among men ; yet such was the pre- 
diction of the holy old man, Simeon : " Behold this 
Child is set for the fall and for the resurrection of 
many, and for a sign which shall be contradicted." 
Never has a prediction been verified with more 
constant precision. Jesus was an object of scandal 
for the Pharisees by the splendor of His virtues. 
These haughty hypocrites could not endure Him 
whose wisdom compelled them to blush. They 
wished Him to be considered as a Samaritan, a 
sinner, one possessed by the demon, and they put 
Him to death. His poverty and humiliations were 
a scandal to the Jewish people. These worldly 
people imagined the Messias to be a conquering 


f^r»rtMi''ii'-— r— r 


Second Sunday of Advent, 

king, who should reduce all other nations under 
His empire, and they refused to recognize the 
Messias in the humble Jesus. The Gentiles were 
scandalized at the Cross, which they regarded as a 
folly. He had been an object of scandal for the 
pagan emperors, who persecuted Him for three 
hundred years, in the person of His disciples. 

The bloody persecutions ceased, but the scan- 
dal still remains. Even in His Church Jesus is 
an object of contradiction. The incredulous are 
scandalized at the mysteries which their proud 
reason rejects, because they cannot comprehend 
His mysteries. The libertine is scandalized at the 
severity of His Christian morality, and which he 
pretends is above and beyond the strength of men. 
The heretics are scandalized at the undeniable au- 
thority of His Church, and raise against her the 
standard of revolt. And lax Christians, in still 
greater numbers, are scandalized at the abasement 
of His mercies ; while slaves of a miserable human 
respect blush at His name and the duties which 
that name imposes. 

Such ingratitude is indeed revolting ; but are you 
wholly exempt from it? Is it true that Jesus is 
not for you an object of scandal? You love riches 
and Jesus despised them ; you seek after pleasures, 
and Jesus condemned them ; you are fond of the 
world, Jesus rejected the world. How, then, can 
you say that you love Jesus, when you love noth- 
ing which He has commanded, but, on the contrary, 
love precisely what He has forbidden? In thus 


Jesus an Object of Scandal { 


living, you cannot deny that Jesus is for you an 
object of contradiction. While you do not despise 
His name. His doctrine and His love are a scandal 
for you! Yes, Jesus is a scandal for you, O vindic- 
tive man ! because He has pardoned injuries ; Jesus 
is a scandal for you, vain young woman, because He 
practised humility; Jesus is a scandal for you, 
young man, because He has loved purity; and for 
you, who do not know how to obey or mortify your- 
selves, Jesus is also a scandal, because He has prac- 
tised obedience even to the death of the Cross. 

O my Jesus, inspire in my heart a true love for 
Thee, that henceforth nothing shall be a scandal 
to me, in Thy doctrine. Thy life, or Thy humilia- 
tions. I shall strive to become like Thee by loving 
what Thou loved and by despising that which 
Thou despised, and by practising the virtues of 
which Thou hast given an example. 

Second Point, — To be scandalized at Jesus is a 
crime. What greater outrage can there be against 
God, than to be scandalized at His benefits, and to 
seek in His infinite goodness some reason for re- 
volt against Him? In fact, what is it, says Bour- 
daloue, that scandalizes and disheartens us in the 
religion we profess? Precisely that in which God 
manifests His love for us. All those mysteries 
which shock our delicacy — those mysteries of a God 
made man, a God humiliated, a God persecuted, a 
God dying — are these anything else than the fulfil- 
ment of that grand word spoken to us by God Him- 
self — "God has so loved the world"? 



Second Sunday of Advent, 

Jesus an Object of Scandal 



Pope St. Gregory signalizes and deplores this 
criminal conduct, when he exclaims: "Man has 
taken as an object of scandal against his God the 
very things which should inviolably attach him to 
his God/' In fact, it is evident, if anything were 
capable of uniting us closely to God, inspiring us 
with zeal for Him, and making us ready to sacri- 
fice everything for His honor, it is certainly the 
thought that God has died for us and was anni- 
hilated for us. This thought has produced marvel- 
lous fruits in the saints — prodigies of virtue, heroic 
conversions, renunciation of the world, and disposi- 
tions generous enough for martyrdom. And what 
has done all that? The sight of the God-Man, and 
of a God sacrificed for the salvation of men. This 
it is which has gained their hearts and filjed them 
with intensest love. It is also that which has been 
the occasion of scandal for certain Christians and 
induced them to lead an idle, impure, and disorderly 
life. At the sight of this disorder, Tertullian in- 
dignantly exclaims: "Be scandalized, if you will, 
at everything, but at least spare the person of your 
Saviour; spare His cross, since it is the source of 
your life ; spare it, since it is the hope of the whole 
world.'* If it were the angels who were offended 
at it, or were scandalized, this would be in a meas- 
ure tolerable, since Jesus has not suffered for 
them. But since it is for you that the Saviour has 
come, and for you He has wished to die, the 
scandal should recoil on you and upon all crea- 

Learn, therefore, at the foot of your Saviour's 
cross, the sentiments with which the memories of 
His mercies should inspire you. See, in His vol- 
untary abasement, not a motive for blushing, but a 
reason for loving Him. It is not necessary to be a 
Christian to reason in this way, but it is necessary 
thus to think to be a Christian. The more you 
enter into these sentiments, the more you will 
participate in the grace and spirit of Christianity ; 
and in proportion as these sentiments shall grow 
less in you, so too will the spirit of Christianity 
decrease in you. Let the worldlings run after the 
world and its vanities, but as for you, strive to cling 
closely to the person of your lovable Redeemer. 
There is no salvation except through Him; Jove 
His teaching, love His example, and love His re- 
ligion, and then you will not make a subject of 
scandal that which is the principle of your salva- 
tion and the foundation of your perfection. 

O my Saviour, do not permit that I should ever 
be scandalized at what Thou hast done for me and 
the divine teachings Thou hast given me. Impress 
on my heart such a high esteem for Thy humilia- 
tions and sufferings, that Thy cross may be at once 
my strength, my guide, and my glory. 



THE Jews had sent some messengers to ask of 
St. John the Baptist if he were the Messias, 
... or, at least, if he were Elias, or a prophet. 
He replied: "No! I am the voice of one crying 
in the wilderness, prepare the way of the Lord.'' 
By these simple and modest words, St. John gives 
us an admirable lesson in humility, and his humil- 
ity is made manifest by three principal traits : he 
refuses all kinds of honor, he speaks of himself in 
the most modest terms, and he eulogizes Him who 
is considered his rival. 

First Point.— ^t. John refuses all honors. At 
once he refuses those honors to which he has no 
right. The object of the Jews, in addressing St. 
John the question, "Who art thou?'' was to compel 
him to declare if he was, or was not, the Messias. 
The mere expression of such a doubt filled the 
precursor with confusion. He was sorrowfully 
surprised at the thought that any one should con- 
found him with the Master. He therefore rejects 
this supposition with all the strength of an indignant 
soul, and boldly and emphatically declares that he 
is not the Messias—" And he confessed and did not 
deny, and confessed, I am not the Christ." But 

St. John the Baptist a Model of Humility, 


they still urge him: "Who, then, art thou? art 
thou Elias? and he said to them, I am not. Art 
thou a prophet? He answered. No." The hu- 
mility of St. John had here to undergo a severe 
trial. In fact the Jews were disposed, if he had 
wished it, to recognize him as their king, fheir 
liberator, and even as the Messias. He had but to 
say a single word, and the whole synagogue would 
have come to do him homage ; but St. John is too 
humble to accept a title and honors which he does 
not merit, and hence he declares without hesitation 
that he is not the Christ. 

His humility goes farther ; he refuses even the 
honors to which he has a just right. Without 
being the Christ, St. John the Baptist was great 
enough to be extolled and praised; without any 
usurpation he could claim at least the titles which 
Jesus had given him on several occasions. If he 
were not really Elias, he was a figure of him. He 
represented him, and he exercised, in the first com- 
ing of the Son of God, the ministry which Elias 
shall exercise at His second coming. He leads the 
same life as Elias led, he manifests the same 
virtues, the same zeal, the same mortifications, and 
the same fearlessness before the powers of the earth. 

True, he was not Elias in reality, but he was 
Elias in spirit and in virtue. With the same truth, 
he could accept or refuse the title of prophet. He 
could refuse it, since the ministry of the pt-ophets 
consisted in announcing, from afar, the coming of 
the promised Messias. His mission was to show 


Third Sunday of Advent, 

that the Messias had come to the Judeans. This, 
however, was not to prophesy, but only to announce 
what already existed. He could also accept the 
title of prophet; the Messias whom he preached 
existed in truth, but He had not yet manifested 
Himself. His mission hithei'to remained in the 
class of future things, so that he was really predict- 
ing and prophesying what he announced. So that, 
between the two, St. John, without hesitation, 
takes the part which is most favorable to his pro- 
found humility. But Jesus bestows on him, with 
superabundance, the glory of which he had deprived 
himself; He declared that not only was St. John the 
Baptist a prophet, but that he was more than a 
prophet, thus realizing what He had so often 
preached, i,e., that "he who humbles himself shall 
be exalted." 

Second Point. — St. John speaks of himself in the 
most modest terms. The Jews, dissatisfied by the 
response which St. John had given, said to him: 
" Who art thou, what say est thou of thyself?" He 
answered : " I am the voice of one crying in the 
wilderness: Make straight the way of the Lord. I 
indeed baptize in water, but there is One in your 
midst whom you do not know, whose shoes I am 
not worthy to loose." The holy precursor ab- 
stained as much as possible from declaring whom 
he was, and confined himself strictly to the questions 
which were proposed to him. He was content to 
modestly, but positively, avow what he was not. 
But a precise question puts him to the necessity of 

St, John the Baptist a Model of Humility, 23 

an explanation and to say exactly who he is. He 
speaks of himself, but it is because he is constrained 
to do so. It is an avowal which is forced from his 
modesty, and by declaring the truth he shall still 
more conciliate this duty with his sentiments of 
humility. He shall say only what is necessary to 
make known his mission. The interests of his 
Master demand it, but he shall say it in the most 
simple terms, and far from all pretension and praise 
for himself : " I am the voice of one crying in the 
wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord." It was 
simply impossible for him to speak of himself in a 
more modest manner. A voice is only a mere 
sound, entirely without substance. St. John, there- 
fore, declares that he is absolutely nothing by 


For a moment put yourself in the place of St. 
John the Baptist. Think that some one comes with 
authority to demand who you are, what have you to 
say of yourself? Candidly, what response should 
you make? Would you, as the holy precursor, be 
principally occupied in preventing an opinion, too 
advantageous, which might be formed of you? 
Would you acknowledge with the same frankness 
what was wanting in you? And, if obliged to 
speak of what was advantageous to you, would you 
do so as simply and as modestly as St. John did? 

Third Point,— ^h\\Q St. John speaks of himself 
and of all that concerns him with so much modesty 
and reserve, he enlarges with pleasure on the gran- 
deur of Jesus, and finds also in praising Him the 


Third Smiday of Advent, 

means of humbling himself. This is the conduct of 
one who possesses a truly humble heart=i- As much 
as he tries to conceal in secret the gifts which he has 
received from God, just so much does he love to 
publish the gifts with which others are adorned. 
His modesty suffers from the eulogies he receives, 
while his charity rejoices at those which he gives. 
Are these your sentiments? Do you love to be- 
stow praise rather than to receive it? Are you 
eager to extol the good qualities of your neighbor, 
and to be forgetful of his defects ? How rare are 
dispositions like these, and yet how suitable they 
are in a Christian soul ? 

O my God, how far I am from having the senti- 
ments of humility which Thy holy precursor had ! 
I am as proud as he was humble. Do not permit, 
Lord, that I should ever forget the nothingness 
from which Thou hast drawn me; and if I am 
obliged to extol the good which I possess, let it be 
only to make known the greatness of Thy power 
and the magnificence of Thy gifts. 



*\A/HEN a king wishes to go through his king- 
dom and visit his people, an armed herald 
.... precedes him ''and announces his arrival. 
Everything which might inconvenience his passage 
is removed; triumphal arches are erected in his 
honor, and flowers are strewn on the way which he 
shall pass. Well, the King Jesus is coming to visit 
us; already His herald has preceded Him, inviting 
you to do Him honor. St. John the Baptist asks of 
you, in the name of his Master, not indeed to cast 
flowers on His way or to erect triumphal arches, 
but he does require that you should fill the void 
which is in your heart and adorn it with virtues. 
" Every valley shall be filled." He indicates the vir- 
tues you must acquire ; but there are two especially, 
viz., humility, which shall bring down your pride, 
and a spirit of faith, which shall smooth your path- 
way. " Every mountain and hill shall be brought 
low, and the crooked ways shall be made straight." 
First Point, — The first disposition which the pre- 
cursor demands in the name of his Master is 
humility. " Every mountain and every hill shall 
be brought low." These two expressions seem to 
indicate two kinds of pride. The larger kind in- 


Fourth Sunday of Advent, 

creases beyond measure, and seems to lift us up as 
a high mountain, the weight of which crushes every- 
thing else that is near it. This is the first pride of 
which we must divest ourselves. There is another, 
more delicate and hidden, represented by the hills, 
and seems rather to be self-complacency, that raises 
us above others. This pride, although less crim- 
inal, no less hinders the coming of the Saviour. If 
Jesus shall approach you, you must begin by hum- 
bling yourself in your own estimation. 

Pride, in all its shades, is the sworn enemy of the 
Saviour; it has occasioned the loss of the first man, 
and it is still the cause of all the disorders which 
disturb the world. Pride of independence is the 
source of revolts against superiors ; pride of ambi- 
tion is the source of the catastrophes which deso- 
late society; pride of reason is the principle of in- 
credulity which refuses the yoke of faith ; pride of 
science is the cause of schisms which rend the 
bosom of the Church; pride of human respect 
makes us blush for our faith and abandon our Chris- 
tian duties; pride of vanity begets love of the 
world, taste for dress, luxury, the ruin of families, 
and the loss of innocence. This must be sufficient 
to tell you the horror which pride inspires in Him 
who has come to destroy sin, which is, after all, the 
pride of our first father. 

Pride explains the humiliations of the crib, the 
thirty years of Jesus* life in the house of a poor ar- 
tisan, the severity of a moral all abnegation and 
humility, the opprobrium and the humiliations of 


The Dispositions for the Feast of Christmas. 2 7 

the cross; to oppose it not only are lessons and 
precepts necessary, but the force of example is re- 
quired to remove every excuse and to confound 
forever all human vanity. Jesus might have been 
born in the palace of a king and in the midst of 
opulence. I "If He had wished it,'* says Bossuet, 
"what golden coronet could have encircled His 
head, and what royal purple could cover His 
shoulders!'* But He has not wished it. He has 
selected the other extremity, just precisely to teach 
us, by His example, loving humility. May you 
comprehend these great and exalted lessons, and, 
in the school of the divine Master, may you learn 
the practice of humility. 

Second Point, — The crooked ways shall be made 
straight. You find indicated here, under these 
symbolic expressions, one of those virtues \Yhich the 
world hardly suspects, but which the eye of God 
contemplates with pleasure ; it is purity of intention 
or a spirit of faith. The man and the Christian, in 
their reflective acts, have always a motive which 
determines them. Man acts through self-love, 
through self-complacency, goodness of heart, or 
natural inclination; and these acts are wholly 
natural, without merit before God, because God re- 
wards only what is done for Him. The Christian, 
on the contrary, finds in his faith the motives of 
his conduct. He acts for God. Having Him for the 
object, he wishes to please or glorify Him, and 
hence his acts are supernatural in virtue of this 
principle, that an action always participates in the 


Fourth Sunday of Advent, 

nature of the motive which determines it ; and his 
acts are meritorious before God, since they are per- 
formed for Him. 

When God depicts the just man, He defines him 
"a man who lives by faith." Jesus, the Just One 
by excellence, declares, that "His life is to do the 
will of His Father." This is also the life of a 
Christian who knows how to be faithful to his 
vocation; it is his glory, it is his true greatness. 
In fact, true exaltation presupposes continual ab- 
negation, and to impose silence on the passions; to 
put aside all interest or self-love, all inclinations and 
affections, and to seek in the very bosom of God 
the reason of our acts, of our judgments, and our 
affections. If this is not true greatness, then where 
shall it be found ? 

And precisely because this spirit of faith, sup- 
poses higher exaltation, it is most rare among men. 
Not to speak of so many good, though worldly, 
men who multiply their good works through purely 
natural motives, how many are there, otherwise 
pious and regular, who are wanting in their con- 
duct and even in their piety this right intention 
which seeks only God and His good pleasure? 
They are kind and good, but rather by their natural 
goodness of heart than by their charity ; they are 
generous to certain persons, and yet without pity 
for others. They pray, it is true, but only to find 
consolation ; they abridge or prolong their conver- 
sation with God, as they experience in it fervor or 
dryness ; they are interested friends, to whom Jesus 

The Dispositions for the Feast of Christmas. 29 

could well say, as to the multitude which followed 
Him : " It is not for My sake that you follow Me, 
but in the hope that I shall again multiply the 
bread for you." It is true they confess and com- 
municate, but it is through habit, or to do as others 
do, or to please a master or a friend; in a word, 
they act for others, rather than for God. These 
are the winding and the crooked ways which the 
holy precursor invites us to make straight. 

And so hitherto, perhaps, you have been chari- 
table through caprice, goodness of heart, or through 
ostentation. Now be charitable to please God, 
who is charity itself, and to please Jesus, who is in 
the person of each one who suffers. Hitherto you 
have brought, perhaps, to the exercise of your zeal 
dispositions which are wholly human; good and 
anxious for some, but stormy and intolerant for 
others; you are ardent when successful, but dis- 
couraged when your efforts are sterile. Now seek 
the will of God, rather than success and the inter- 
ests of self-love. Then you shall never be cast 
down. Hitherto you have sought in prayer, in 
confession, and in communion your consolations 
and your joys ; and hence followed sadness, tears, 
and perhaps resistance, when your hopes were not 
realized. Rectify these views, which are wholly 
natural. Go to God with simplicity of heart, which 
always obeys when commanded, which submits 
when forbidden, and finds peace only in holy obe- 
dience; then you shall make straight the paths 
which shall conduct you to God. 


Fourth Sunday of Advent. 

Adorable Jesus, Thou didst come to this world 
only to enter my heart. Deign to enter there and 
take possession of it, and make it worthy to receive 
Thee. Enlighten me on everything which may 
render me displeasing in Thine eyes. Or rather, 
O good Jesus! create in me a new heart; fill up 
what is void, by adorning it with virtue; humble 
my pride, correct my perverse inclinations, that all 
the ways may be opened to Thee to come and reign 
in my heart and possess it forever. 





T'HE birth of Jesus in the crib of Bethlehem 
presents for our consideration a prodigy of hu- 

• . . mility and a prodigy of goodness. 
First Point.— "Y^^L^ crib in Bethlehem is a wonder 

of humility. Pride has ever been the source of the 
greatest misfortunes. Adam wishes to become like 
to God, and he is forthwith expelled from the 
garden of delights. The pride of Cain is aroused 
at the preference which God manifests for the sacri- 
fices of Abel, and Cain becomes the murderer of his 
brother. The children of Noe construct a tower, 
which, they say, shall be a lasting monument to 
their greatness, and this act of pride is punished by 
the confusion of tongues. Even now, pride begets 
dissensions, hatred, and wars which desolate em- 
pires, and schisms which rend the Church. Since 
pride is the greatest of all the vices, it was neces- 
sary to apply a remedy to it at once, and what more 
efficacious remedy can there be than the humility 
of a God ? The Divine Word offers Himself for our 
redemption by saying to God His Father: " Holo- 
causts for sin are no longer pleasing to Thee. Be- 
hold Me, Lord, Thy eternal Son, united to a mortal 
body; behold Me, the heir of David, poor, forsa- 


Christmas Day, 

ken, and reduced to the horrors of misery. For a 
throne, I have a manger; for a palace, I have a 
stable ; for a royal mantle, I have swaddling-clothes, 
and for courtiers I have some poor shepherds.** 
What humility ! Can you ever comprehend all its 
greatness? Know it well, nothing would have been 
easier for this Child than to have been born in a 
superb palace, of a celebrated or renowned prin- 
cess, and in the midst of a court eager to serve 
Him. He could do all this, since the earth, with all 
that it contains, belongs to Him. "All things 
under heaven are mine.** But has not this example 
flattered our vices instead of extirpating them ? Is 
it not an excuse for our pride, instead of a remedy? 
Men love riches, as they are the source of honors 
which are often as vain and fleeting as their origin ; 
but the Saviour, by His birth in a stable, has taught 
men to love poverty. Men attach much importance 
to an illustrious origin; but Jesus is born of a 
daughter of David and the world ignores Him; 
and this royal daughter, who is a spectacle for 
angels, is unable to find in Bethlehem a friendly 
hand that shall assist her in her poverty. Men are 
also proud of their studies and their science ; they 
blush to be found in contact with people without 
education or instruction ; but the God of the manger 
calls about Him simple and ignorant shepherds. 
Of what then shall men henceforth be proud ? 
How can a proud man dare to look at the crib? He 
who possesses every perfection consents to be reck- 
oned as nothing. He who fills all places by His 

The Stable of Bethlehem. 


immensity is compelled to seek an asylum in a 
stable. He before whom all men are as small in- 
sects becomes like to them to save them. Can 
there be an abnegation like to this ? O my humble 
Master! who shall not be instructed by this mys- 
tery, when he sees Thee treated as the meanest of 
men, rejected by every one, relegated to a poor 
dwelling, and surrounded by vile animals? Why 
dost Thou hide Thyself under a veil so unworthy 
of Thy greatness? Thy love answers: it is to con- 
found the pride of men. O man, you are but the 
dust of the earth, still you dream only of grandeur 
and frivolity, while your God conceals Himself 
under the form of a slave. You are but a play- 
thing of vanity, and constantly sigh for new orna- 
ments; while your God is naked and so poor that 
His mother can scarcely find wherewith to cover 
His sacred body. If, after this wonder of humility, 
you still seek to exalt yourself, it would be indeed 
a wonder, and it wovild be a prodigy of pride. 

Second Point. — The crib is a prodigy of goodness. 
Let us suppose that the only son of the greatest 
king of the earth, unmindful of his rank, his birth, 
and all the pleasures of the court of which he is 
the brightest ornament, should come in the midst 
of us and share the labors of the most unfortunate ; 
and let us suppose that, wishing to solace them as 
far as he can, he should ask of his father to charge 
him with the obligations of all, and to fulfil these 
obligations he should expose himself to the rigors 
of the seasons and the fury of a thousand enemies, 


Christmas Day. 

• would he not be a monster, worthy of our anath- 
emas, who should not love such a generous 
prince? And who is this Son of the great King? 
He is the Word of God, eternal, equal to His Father 
in everything, a Father who is truly worthy of the 
name, and who places in His Son all His delights. 
The human race, lost by its own crimes, was about 
to perish. The hand of the Most High was pre- 
pared to hurl His thunders against men, but His 
Son, this merciful Son, restrained Him, and His 
anger is changed to tenderness. But a sacrifice is 
necessary. Well, He shall be the Victim. The 
crib in Bethlehem is the altar on which He is of- 
fered. O infant God, how dear Thou art to me! 
The tears Thou didst shed are for me ; the sorrows 
Thy delicate members experience have been occa- 
sioned by me, and still Thy charity makes all these 
sufferings light and tolerable. 

To understand this prodigy of goodness well, we 
should meditate on the sorrowful circumstances 
which accompany the entrance of Jesus into the 
world. He is born in the middle of a winter night, 
—the cold seizes His weak body,— His mother looks 
about for garments to cover Him, and finds only 
some poor clothes which scarcely serve their pur- 
pose. He is born to be the Saviour of men, and 
men despise Him and reject Him from their 
society as the last of all men. Hardly is He born 
than He at once begins to exercise the functions of 
a Saviour ; His tears are falling in the manger. Do 
not suppose that the tears of the Infant Jesus come 

The Stable of Bethlehem, 


only from a natural cause, as the tears of other 
children. No; His soul, reasonable at all times, 
sees all the crimes of men. He weeps for men, 
and His tears are the tears of penance. And you 
are the cause of these tears, you unthinking Chris- 
tians, who, by refusing to receive Him in the sacra- 
ment of His love, close the door of your heart 
against Him, as on the day of His birth the rich 
closed the doors of their houses against Him. You 
are the object of those tears, worldly young men, 
who are plunged in pleasures while He endures for 
you the greatest sufferings. You, slaves of vanity, 
you are the objects of those tears, you who seek the 
esteem and praise of men while He is born in 
misery and lives in opprobrium for love of you. 

O my divine and amiable Master, it is indeed a 
great prodigy that Thou shouldst come to me and 
testify so much love for me ; but it is a prodigy 
greater still that I should acknowledge Thy love so 
little. After all that Thou hast suffered for me, 
should I find it too hard to suffer something for 
Thee? Good Jesus, unveil to my heart the mystery 
of the crib at Bethlehem, make me understand well 
its divine teachings, that, through love for Thee, I 
may know how to suffer and be humble, since Thou 
hast suffered and wast humiliated through love for 





'T'HE holy old man Simeon, having blessed Jesus, 
said to Mary : " This Child is set for the fall 
... and the resurrection of many in Israel, and 
a sword of sorrow shall pierce thy heart." Simeon 
made these two prophecies, one concerning Jesus 
and the other concerning Mary. We should re- 
flect on both, since they are calculated to suggest 
useful reflections. 

First Point.— ThQ prophecy which relates to Jesus. 
When Simeon declared that Jesus should be the 
ruin of many, we must not understand that He shall 
be the author of their ruin, or that He shall lead 
men to it. This would be simply impious. The 
Sacred Scriptures, which this divine Child has in- 
spired, are full of His love for all men. His desire 
to see them merit it, and to obtain their salvation.' 
Simeon wishes to announce that Jesus shall be- 
come, not the cause, but the occasion of loss to very 
/many. Jesus shall be what Isaias announced He 
^ should be, and what St. Paul declares He has been, 
viz., "The stone on which they shall fall, and on 
which many of the children of Israel shall be in- 
jured." You shall find those who shall accuse 

Prophecy of Simeon. 


Him because of their fall on that stone, on which 
their feet have stumbled. Far from Jesus being 
the cause of our loss, the cause is traceable to our- 
selves, because we refuse to hear Him, or to obey 
Him, or to follow Him. It is in a very different 
sense that holy Simeon said to Mary that Jesus 
shall be the resurrection of many. In fact. He is 
not only the occasion of our salvation, as He is of 
our loss, but He is the true cause of it ; He is the 
general cause of salvation for all men by the bene- 
fit of redemption ; and He is the particular cause of 
salvation for the just, because it is He who, by His 
grace, has wrought their justification. By His pas- 
sion and death He has opened for us the gates of 
heaven; He has shown us the way to heaven by 
His law; by His example He guides us there, and 
by His strength sustains us in the journey of life. 
Our salvation, therefore, comes from Him, while 
our loss corhes from ourselves. If you have been 
stained by sin, you can blame only yourselves for 
your faults, while, if you have persevered in justice, 
you must be grateful to Him for your innocence. 
And thus, among the children of Israel, Jesus has 
been the resurrection of one part and the ruin of 
the other: some He has saved, but others are lost 
through their own fault. 

What He has been for the age in which He lived 
and for the nation which possessed Him, He has 
not ceased to be for all ages and for the whole hu- 
man race. He has been the resurrection of those 
who hear His voice, who believe His word, who 


Sunday after Christmas. 

conform to His law, and who are attached to Him ; 
but He is the ruin of those who disdain to hear 
Him who refuse to believe Him, who resist His 
instructions and who disobey His precepts. 

The manner in which this oracle of Simeon is ac- 
complished must suggest to us a very sorrowful re- 
flection . When we consider the number of the Jews 
for whom Jesus was the ruin, and the number for 
whom He was the resurrection, what a vast dis- 
parity there exists ! On the one hand we behold a 
handful of disciples, on the other a multitude of 
enemies. While almost all the citizens loudly de- 
manded that He should be crucified, what a small 
number of faithful followers retired apart with 
Him, trembling for themselves and weeping for 
the Saviour ! The number was small that preserved 
for Him a personal attachment. Now what was 
true in His time has been always true ; it is true 
to-day. The unfortunate disproportion among 
those for whom Jesus is the resurrection, and those 
for whom He is the ruin, has continued from gen^ 
eration to generation, even until now. This has 
been an object of profound sorrow for the pious 
souls who are members of Christ's Church, and 
woe to us if we are insensible to it ! This culpable 
indifference should make us tremble, lest we should 
be numbered among those unfortunates who could 
make Jesus the cause of their salvation, but in- 
stead make Him the occasion of their reprobation. 
Second Point. ~Ro\y Simeon announced to Mary 
that a sword of sorrow should pierce her heart. 

Prophecy of Simeon. 


This prophecy of the holy old Simeon has been ful- 
filled in Mary, and with a cruel precision. It is the 
destiny of mortals that no one can exempt himself 
from the law which condemns all to suffer. Even 
she who by special privilege was exempted from 
the stain of Adam has been obliged to submit to 
this severe condition of suffering. Although she 
had been declared blessed, and that she should see, 
in the future, all generations publish her honor, still 
her heart was a prey to the most bitter affliction. 
Her august character of Mother of God, which pro- 
claimed her the happiest of women, however, ren- 
dered her the most afflicted of mothers. For other 
mothers it is a matter of supremest joy to possess a 
son, but for Mary it was a subject of constant dis- 
tress and sadness, because she knew for what fright- 
ful destinies she had given birth to her Son. St. 
John, in the Apocalypse, records that he saw Jesus 
under the figure of a lamb immolated. The sor- 
rowful Mother of Jesus had this lamentable spec- 
tacle before her eyes during her whole life. The 
sweetness of those caresses which she lavished on 
her Son, the tenderness of her cares with which 
she surrounded Him, were constantly empoisoned 
by this horrible image. The very circumstances 
best calculated to excite her joy recalled the sorrows 
which awaited her. When she rejoiced to have 
found Him in the Temple, after an absence of 
three days, the thought that she should one day 
lose Him in a more sorrowful manner came quickly 
to her mind. If she rejoiced at having snatched 



Sunday after Christmas. 

Him from the fury of Herod, at once she thought 
that It was only for a death still more cruel she had 
preserved Him. She rejoiced, it is true, to see 
Him walkmg through the cities and villages, work- 
ing miracles, strewing blessings at every footstep 
surrounded by multitudes full of enthusiasm and 
gratitude ; but she saw that same multitude turn 
against Him with fury, demand His death with loud 
ones, hasten His punishment, and to insult and 
raillery add their cruelty. Thus, from the day 

her, he life of Mary was only one long and con- 
tmual agony. 

If the heart of Mary was so violently disturbed 
by the sufferings of her Son, and when she could 
only foresee them, what must have been her cruel 
agony when she saw His sufferings realized before 
ner eyes? The desolate Agar, wandering in the 
desert of Bersabee, was crushed by affliction at 
seeing the state to which her son Ismael had been 
reduced. This is the ordinary effect of sorrow, it 
'^i 1.°^*"'■^^ promptings of a mother's love ; but 
with the Mother of God everything is supernatural. 
A love like hers demands the greatest sacrifice. 

ll^^^Tl^'\ '^'' ^°"' '° ^'^' *° '»^^' -"d she 
shall\not abandon Him until His last sigh on the 

cross. The Virgin of Nazareth walks to the moun- 

tain on which her Son is to be immolated. She 

walks, followed by some other daughters of Sion 

whtrH ""f 1^^ '°' '^^^ well-beloved Jesus, and 
while He shall there consummate the holocaust of 

:. 'ij 

Prophecy of Simeon, 


His life they shall consummate holocausts of their 
hearts. There nothing is lost for her which can 
bring her the deepest affliction ; she hears all, sees 
all — all the cruelties of the executioners and the tor- 
ments of her Son she feels in her own heart. More- 
over, although the fury of the Jews had spared her 
life, the Fathers of the Church do not hesitate to 
attribute to Mary the glory of martyrdom ; and this 
martyrdom, although not stained by blood, is not 
the less heroic. The other martyrs suffered with 
Jesus reigning in heaven ; Mary suffered with Jesus 
while He suffered on the cross ; the prospect of His 
glory sustained their constancy, but the sight of His 
humiliations disconcerted the Mother. The love of 
God was for them a solace, but for Mary it was an 
increase of sorrow. 

O Mary, my Mother, engrave deeply in my heart 
the memory of thy sorrows, that I may better 
comprehend how much thou hast paid for the sad 
privilege of having me for thy child. And Thou, 
amiable Jesus, give me the grace to follow Thee as 
my Guide, to imitate Thee as my Model, and to 
obey Thee as my King, that Thou mayst be for me, 
not the occasion of my ruin, but the cause of my 
resurrection and salvation. Amen. 

The Holy Name of Jesus, 




QF all the names which have been given to the 
children of men, the most august and the most 
. . . lovable is the name of Jesus. It contains in 
itself all that the prophets announced as greatest, all 
that the patriarchs have dreamed of as most gracious ; 
it recalls at once what is most amiable in virtue, 
what is most tender in love, and what is most 
august in religion. Besides, it is an angel that has 
brought this name from heaven to earth ; and St. 
Bernard says that the name of Jesus is at the same 
time a light, a nourishment, and a remedy. 

First PoinL— The name of Jesus is a light. It 
enlightens the mind of the priest when preaching 
to the people. It is by the name of Jesus that the 
universe has been converted ; at this divine name 
the darkness of idolatry gave place to the light of 
the Gospel. St. Peter, at his first preaching, con- 
verted three thousand persons by the power of 
Jesus* name. St. Paul, on his way to Damascus, 
experienced its happy effects; he was struck, as if 
by a thunderbolt, while he was hastening to put the 
Christians to death. He heard a voice which said 
to him : " Why do you persecute Me?" " And who 
are you ?" he answered. The voice replied : " I am 

Jesus.** At the sound of this name an unknown 
light shone before his eyes, and he understood the 
meaning of it all. "Lord," says the persecutor, 
now become a vessel of election, "what wilt Thou 
have me to do? Speak, for I am ready.*' 

St. Paul, convinced by his own experience of the 
power of this holy name, made it his support in his 
apostolic journeys, and without other arms than this 
divine name he converted the world. Rome, 
Athens, and Corinth experienced, each in turn, the 
power of his word. He confounded the learned, 
astonished the Areopagus, and caused the procon- 
sul to tremble in his tribunal ; but it was not by his 
credit nor by his eloquence that he triumphed ; he 
admitted that he was not skilful in the art of 
speaking well, but he knew Jesus crucified, and it 
was to this sacred name he owed all his success. 

The effects of the name of Jesus are still the 
same. What light it sheds on the soul ! Is it neces- 
sary to detach the hearts of the rich from their earth- 
ly goods? Reason fails against cupidity, but let 
the name of Jesus be pronounced and it shall recall 
Him who became poor through love, and soon love 
shall lead to a contempt for riches. Is it necessary to 
instil resignation in the heart of the poor man ? The 
name of Jesus shall remind him of the poor Infant 
in the manger, and will make his poverty precious. 
Do you strive to stifle vengeance in the depth of 
some outraged heart by reasoning? Then all your 
efforts shall be in vain ; but let the name of Jesus 
be mentioned, and the vindictive one shall remem- 



Feast of the Circumcision. 

ber the amiable Victim, who, although outraged 
and insulted, not only pardoned His executioners 
but excused them. His heart is open to mercy. 
St. John Gualbert had resolved to avenge his 
brother, who had been cruelly assassinated. It 
was on Good Friday he met the murderer, and, 
taking his sword in hand, he prepared to strike 
him, when the murderer fell at his feet and asked 
his life in the name of Jesus crucified. At once 
John felt the sword fall from his grasp; he lifted 
his enemy from the ground, embraced him, and par- 
doned him. In all your doubts, in all your tempta- 
tions, pronounce the Holy Name of Jesus with 
faith, and the most precious lights shall dissipate 
your doubts, and shall show you the way you 
should walk to find your Saviour and your God. 

Second Point.— The name of Jesus is a nourish- 
ment. There is in this blessed name some hidden 
virtue which goes to the very soul, penetrates it 
and warms it, and like some mysterious substance 
spreads throughout our whole being a certain 
strength and joy. Who has not experienced this 
wonderful effect .> In the maladies of the soul, 
when temptations increase to violence, when the 
sources of holy consolations seem closed, when we 
feel ourselves growing weak, the heart without 
strength and the will without energy: everything 
in the service of God and in the practice of duty is 
tasteless, insipid, loathsome ; then let us come to 
the foot of the altar, or before a crucifix, and medi- 
tate on the name of Jesus. At once confidence 

The Holy Name of Jesus. 


shall be born in us again, and our forces shall re- 
vive. What is the source of this fervor which is 
experienced at the foot of a crucifix or before an 
altar? The lover of Jesus is occupied in repeating 
His name or reflecting on its sweetness. He does 
not know how to formulate sublime prayers; he 
only knows how to repeat the name of Jesus, and 
he repeats it a thousand times without wearying 
at the repetition, and this adorable name, as some 
burning flame, warms his heart and consoles him. 

"I do not know," said St. Bernard, "if you un- 
derstand the marvellous effects of the name of Jesus, 
but as for me, everything, without this divine name, 
is insipid and wearisome. I must tell you, a book 
has no attractions for me if I do not find the name 
of Jesus in it; a conference or instruction cannot 
please me if Jesus is not mentioned in it. Jesus is 
honey to my mouth, melody to my ears, and a joy- 
ful song to my heart.*' 

If you look for the secret of this unspeakable 
sweetness which the loving heart discovers in the 
Holy Name of Jesus, you shall find it is born of a 
mysterious perfume attached to everything which 
comes from heaven. But should it not come also 
from the memories which this name awakens in the 
heart? See what sweet thoughts are grouped about 
this amiable name, as delicious fruits lie about the 
tree which produces them ! The neglects and the 
adoration in the manger, the memory of virtues 
hidden during thirty years in the house of Joseph, 
the lessons and the blessings of a life which St. 


Feast of the Circumcision. 

Peter sutns up in two words, " He went about do- 
mg good;" the opprobrium and sorrows of Calvary 
—all this recalls the name of Jesus. How, then, 
shall we not feel stirred while meditating on it? 

O Holy Name of Jesus, sacred and penetrating 
oil, whose unction has been poured out from the 
beginning, and only asks to be still poured out, 
pour Thyself with profusion in my heart, fill it with 
the infinite sweetness and the charms of Thy love, 
that, being purified by Thee, united to Thee, and 
satiated by the happiness of loving Thee, I may 
see verified in me these words of the Holy Spirit : 
" Thy name is as oil poured out, and it is why Thy 
servants have loved Thee exceedingly." 

Third Point.— The name of Jesus is a remedy. 
It heals every malady. First, the maladies of the 
body. The innumerable cures wrought by the 
apostles are so many consequences of the power of 
Jesus* name. There is nothing which can resist 
this divine name. Jesus Himself has proclaimed 
this truth. " He that shall believe in Me, shall 
work miracles greater than mine. In My name he 
shall expel demons. He shall have nothing to 
fear, neither the serpent *s bite nor the effect of 
poisons. He shall impose hands on the sick and 
they shall be healed." 

The name of Jesus heals maladies of the heart. 
There are in life some cruel moments, when the 
wearied soul implores death as the only resource. 
In this sadness the name of Jesus shall remind you 
of the sadness of the amiable Victim in the Garden 

The Holy Name of Jesus. 


of Olives, and it shall reanimate and strengthen you. 
If ever you are the victim of ingratitude or of the 
injustice of men, the name of Jesus shall console 
you, and strengthen you by recalling the treason 
of Judas, the abandonment by the apostles, and the 
unworthy preference given to Barabbas. If despair 
threatens to invade your soul, then recall the name 
of Jesus ; it is, says St. Ambrose, a name of hope, 
a name full of sweetness, a name which gives joy. 

The name of Jesus heals the maladies of the soul. 
The great malady of the soul, that which must be 
especially feared, because it attacks the very sources 
of supernatural life, is sin. The name of Jesus is 
a sovereign remedy for it. And why? Because it 
makes us detest sin by recalling its malice ; because 
it makes us avoid sin by giving us strength in 
temptations; because it makes us weep for sin, by 
reminding us of the love of Him whom we offend. 
Learn then to pronounce this blessed name with 
respect — it is the name of your God ; with love — it 
is the name of your Benefactor; and with confi- 
dence — it is the name of your Saviour. 

O Name of Jesus, holy and adorable name, how 
much I love to speak and think of it! Be also 
honey for my lips, and melody for my heart. In 
dying, may my lips still murmur this name, and 
may I never cease to repeat it here on earth, until 
the moment when with the angels I may forever 
bless it. 




|T is faith which, to-day, leads the Wise Men to 
the feet of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and it is faith 
. which can alone lead us to heaven and to God. 
But,"to attain this happy result, our faith must be 
marked by the same characters which rendered it so 
admirable in the Wise Men, viz., docility, generos- 
ity, and constancy. 

First Point, ~ThQ faith of the Wise Men has been 
a docile faith. See with what promptitude they 
correspond with grace ! They say : " We have seen 
His star in the East, and we have come to adore 
Him." There is no delay, no hesitation between 
the promptings of grace and their correspondence 
to it. This promptitude is one of the first condi- 
tions of a return to God. There are in life certain 
solemn and happy circumstances when grace speaks 
clearly to our heart. For instance, when we make 
a retreat, or receive good advice, or see some good 
example, or listen to a most touching instruction, 
or hear of the death of some one whom we have 
loved, or when we learn something which stirs 
us to the very depths of our heart, this is the star 
which must lead us to Christ! Happy is he who 
shall follow it with docility; his conversion is as- 

The Faith of the Wise Men, 


sured. Under the influence of grace which speaks, 
urges, and solicits, we are all-powerful ; there are 
no bonds which we cannot break, no obstacles which 
we cannot overcome. The Cananaean woman, 
Magdalene, and the prodigal son succeeded in the 
work of their sanctification because they were 
prompt to follow the inspirations of grace. But 
woe to him who looks backward, arrested by the 
countless considerations which the demon never 
fails to place before our eyes. The light disap- 
pears, conscience sleeps again, and the evil pene- 
trates deeper than ever. Is not this your experi- 
ence? How many times has grace enlightened 
your mind and moved your heart, and still you have 
always deferred your return. You have reason to 
fear that so^uch resistance to grace may be pun- 
ished by its withdrawal. 

Second Point, — The faith of the Wise Men was a 
generous faith. What tongue can tell the sacrifices 
they made? They are idolaters and strangers to 
the customs and languages of the countries through 
which they must pass ; they are separated from 
Bethlehem by a great distance, and a respectable 
tradition tells us they were kings. How many 
difficulties arise from these different circumstances! 
They could allege the cares of their kingdoms, at- 
tachment to an hereditary worship, the length and 
difficulty of the journey, the fear of being deceived 
by the character of the star which served as guide 
— but no such thought hindered them. In fact, 
nothing arrests them ; they leave everything, and 



Feast of the EpipJmny. 

set out on their journey resolutely. What a com- 
parison between your conduct and theirs, and how 

the comparison'should cause you to 4)lush for your 
conduct ! 

At length they appear before Herod. Even in 
the presence of this king, so cruelly jealous, you 
shall not see the Wise Men dissimulate the object 
of their journey or conceal their sentiments. They 
openly declare to him that they have come, not to 
adore him, but to adore Him whose star they have 
seen. They are at once apostles and martyrs; and 
this is still the conduct of Christians really worthy 
of the name. The world is a master just as cruel 
and as jealous as Herod ever was ; it wishes to be 
worshipped, or you shall incur its disgrace ; but the 
true Christian smiles at the menace of the world 
and remains faithful to his God, at the cost of the 
most sorrowful sacrifices. The coward heart, a 
slave of human respect, a slave of pride or ambition, 
instead of openly declaring his faith, conceals it'; 
thus he paralyzes the action of grace, and, deceived 
by sterile desires, he defers his coming to God un- 
til a time that never comes. It is needless to say 
such conduct is not a model for imitation. 
' The generosity of the Wise Men was evident, 
especially in their obedience. God had sent them 
an angel to warn them. He commanded them to 
return to their country by another way. At once 
they obeyed, without thinking of inquiring the 
reasons for such a strange order, without murmur 
or complaint. They resume their journey, on the 

The Faith of the Wise Men. 


road indicated, although it might be longer or more 
difficult. But what of the promise given to Herod? 
What shall the king say, what shall all Jerusalem 
think of the violation of their word? They are not 
at all disturbed by this thought ; God has spoken : 
that is sufficient. They know only how to obey. 
Do likewise in all the circumstances of your life. 
When you know the will of God, strive to accom- 
plish it, and put aside all human considerations. 

Third Point.— The faith of the Wise Men is con- 
stant. Although their faith was tested severely, 
still it surmounted every obstacle. The first trial 
of their faith was the disappearance of the star 
which had hitherto guided them. It leaves them 
as soon as they had entered Jerusalem and Herod's 
court. Hence two thoughts naturally follow from 
this: the first is, that to enjoy the holy communica- 
tions of grace, it is necessary to live far from cer- 
tain people, far, especially, from the society of 
Herods and the enemies of Christ. Do you wish 
to find your star, that is to say, to recover your first 
piety, the fervor of a certain epoch in your life ? 
Depart from the world, from the tumult of business, 
from dissipation and*pleasures— then shall your star 


The second instruction we must receive is that 
God does not give extraordinary lights and graces, 
unless the ordinary means are wanting. The star 
was useless to the Wise Men when they were in 
the midst of the doctors of the law, who could have 
indicated to them the way they should follow to 



Feast of the Epiphany, 

find Jesus. And thus the soul which is in the 
Church, who has for its guide the priests of the 
Lord, should not complain of the privation of cer- 
tain interior lights. The soul has her spiritual 
guide whom she should consult and abandon herself 
to his direction. If this aid were wanting, God 
shall supply it by particular graces. 

But the faith of the Wise Men must be tested 
once more. The star at length stops, but where? 
Doubtless over a magnificent palace, for what other 
dwelling could be worthy of God ? But no ; it stops 
over an abandoned hut. They enter— and find it a 
stable ! And what do they find there? On a little 
straw a child is lying, scarcely protected from the 
cold by the clothes which cover Him ; near Him are 
only two adorers, Mary and Joseph. What a test 
for ordinary faith! Are they not deceived? Was 
the star they followed indeed the star of Jacob? 
Was the long journey they made well considered? 
But their faith is fortified by the very difficulties 
which should have shaken it. There is in their 
heart neither doubt nor hesitation. Behold them 
at the feet of the divine Infant, kissing with love 
the little hands which He presents to them, adoring 
with respect their God concealed under the ap- 
pearance of infancy. They open their treasures and 
place at His feet the triple tribute of their homage 
—gold because He is a king, myrrh because He is 
a man, and frankincense because He is their God. 

O Jesus, my God, concealed through love for me, 
no longer under the appearance of infancy, but 

The Faith of the Wise Men, 


under the eucharistic veils, I come to offer Thee, not 
gold, but the homage of a heart which loves Thee. 
I place my offering, not at the foot of the crib, but 
at the foot of Thy tabernacle. What a happiness 
forme, O my God, if after having recognized Thee, 
adored Thee, and loved Thee here below, under the 
veil which hides Thee from my mortal eyes, I shall 
merit the happiness to contemplate Thee, to adore 
Thee, and to love Thee in the bosom of Thy eter- 
nity, where Thou manifestest Thyself to Thy elect, 
face to face, and without veil of any kind. 

Jesus is Found in the Temple. 




Y^E shall, to-day, consider how we lose Jesus, 
how we should seek Him, and where we 
shall find Him. 
First Point, — How we lose Jesus. We lose Jesus 
by sin, and we lose Him through our spiritual dry- 
ness. In the first case the loss of Jesus is a punish- 
ment ; in the second it is, ordinarily, a trial. We 
lose Jesus by sin : He departs from the soul when 
the demon enters it ; He leaves it alone with the 
horrible master it has chosen. To lose Jesus, His 
friendship, His grace, the sweetness of His conver- 
sations, and His benedictions, and the consolations 
of His love — to lose this God, who is in heaven the 
joy of the angels and of the elect, and to find in 
His place the angel of darkness, the tyrant of hell, 
and the tormentor of the reprobate, what a loss! 
what a misfortune ! However, behold the lot you 
have made for yourself by sin. You have lost 
Jesus, the Friend of your infancy, who lately re- 
ceived your first promises and your first vows ; who 
lisped with you the first simple lessons of faith; 
who called you to eat with Him a delicious bread, 
who shed on your soul such sweetness that the 



memory of it causes your tears to flow ; oh, how 

you are to be pitied ! 

We lose Jesus by spiritual dryness, but usually 
this is a trial. Without having been unfaithful to 
her promises or engagements, the soul finds herself 
suddenly alone on the journey of life. She believes 
she possesses Jesus, and behold. He has abandoned 
her. She relies on His assistance, she hopes for 
His light. His counsel. His grace, but He is far 
from her. She has lost Him, or at least, as with the 
disciples at Emmaus, He has concealed His presence 
f roto her. This trial surely awaits us, for , after the 
sweetness of the first days, God ordinarily allows 
dryness of soul to follow, to know if we serve Him 
for Himself or for the favors we receive. In these 
circumstances, we should be generous and constant. 
To be happy in the performance of duty is a gift of 
God, and is never merited; but to be faithful to 
duty when it is an act depending on ourselves is 
always a sure indication of a heart solidly virtuous. 
Second Point.— Rovf should we seek Jesus? We 
should seek Him eagerly, with confidence and with 
perseverance. Behold Mary: hardly has she per- 
ceived the absence of Jesus than she goes, at once, 
in search of Him. She inquires for Him of all 
those whom she meets; she calls Him, and she 
shall know no rest until she finds Him. Imitate 
her example. When you have had the misfortune 
to lose Jesus by sin, recall Him at once: run and 
cast yourself at the feet of the priest, implote 
pardon, and merit it by your Repentance. Why 

.^- ■■ .ti- y,- 



First Sunday after Epiphany. 

remain at enmity with God a week or even a day? 
Do you not know that if you should die in that state, 
your eternal unhappiness would be assured ? And 
may you not die early, and at any moment? 

Seek Jesus with confidence. After the commis- 
sion of sin, do not aggravate your misfortune by dis- 
couragement or mistrust. Why are you discour- 
aged ? Virtue is a rude and difficult pathway • it is 
not extraordinary that your progress should be 
slow, difficult, and marked by repeated falls; but 
these falls, these obstacles, are they reasons for dis- 
couragement ? No ! you must employ greater vigi- 
lance, develop greater energy, and seek in God the 
strength which you have not, and then go forward 
with confidence. The traveller who is discouraged 
by the length or the difficulties of the journey shall 
never arrive at his destination ; he only shall reach 
It who resolutely continues his journey. Therefore 
seek Jesus with confidence, being well assured that 
He shall aid you in your seeking, and that He shall 
receive you with a goodness wholly paternal. 

Seek Jesus with perseverance. Our Lord has 
spoken a word which we should often reflect upon : 
"He who would be saved must persevere to the 
end." It is indeed something to begin well. It is 
a grand thing for us to have received an education 
profoundly Christian ; it is a happy guarantee for 
salvation that our youth should be passed in the 
practice of love and virtue ; but this is not enough 
We must persevere; and this is the difficulty. 
Constancy seems to be a virtue unknown to the hu- 

Jesus is Found in the Temple, 



man heart. Very many begin well but end badly. 
Do not imitate them, but imitate Mary in her ardor 
and in her perseverance in seeking the divine In- 
fant. She will not allow herself to be discouraged, 
but continues her search until she has found the 
object of her regrets and her tears. You have 
prayed, it is true, and you still pray, but God seems 
. to turn away from your entreaties ; do not be dis- 
couraged; continue, multiply your prayers in pro- 
portion to the difficulties you may meet with, and 
God will give you the consolation of His love. He 
shall keep strict account of your sighs which you 
have sent towards heaven, of the prayers which were 
so often a cross, and a cross without unction ; the 
more painful the test shall have been, the greater 
shall be the recompense. 

Third Point, — Where shall we find Jesus ? It was 
in the temple that Mary found her Son, and it is 
also in the temple that we shall find Jesus when w& 
shall have lost Him. If this loss is the punish- 
ment of your sins, there is in His house a salutary 
pool, on the shores of which He stands ready to 
heal you. He is not found in those profane assem- 
blies where you go to stifle the remorse which dis- 
turbs your conscience. He is not found in those 
frivolous books which shall only accomplish the 
ruin of your piety. He is not found among those 
frivolous people whose dissipation is an excuse for 
your own ; but He is in the temple, and there you 
must come to find Him. In the sacred tribunal 
you shall learn what you must do to approach Him, 




First Sunday after Epiphany. 

or, rather, He Himself will come to you, and by 

the mouth of His minister He will speak to you. 

After the pardon of your faults, He will re-enter 

your heart, and you will experience happiness in 

recovering His grace. 

If the loss of Jesus is a trial, it is also a joy to 

know that it is in the temple that you can find Him. 

In the temple there is an altar— on the altar there 
is a tabernacle, and love for us holds Jesus enclosed 
in it. There it is we must seek Him in com- 
munion, or at least in prayer. Listen to this voice 
of sweet friendship, but take no heed of vain terrors 
which only separate you from your divine Master. 
"If you have faith," says St. Augustine, "the ab- 
sence of the Lord is only seeming. He is there, 
ever near you, concealed under eucharistic veils.' 
Go to Him, cast yourself into His arms with a confi- 
dence wholly filial ; then you shall feel that peace 
is bom again in your heart." 



npHE Evangelist, after having recounted the 
* change of water into wine, at the wedding 
. . . feast of Cana. remarks that, at the sight of this 
miracle, the disciples of Jesus believed in Him. It * 
was impossible that this result should not follow, 
since miracles are so much the work of God that 
He only, or His delegate, could work them. If then 
the miracles recorded in the holy gospel are true, it 
is evident that Jesus is all that He claimed to be, viz. , 
the Son of God. Now the certitude of the evan- 
gelical miracles is demonstrated by their character 
and by the character of those who relate them, and 
by the monuments which give testimony of them ; 
it is impossible, therefore, to question their authen- 

First Point. — The character of these evangelical 
facts demonstrates their certitude. We observe at 
once they are important ; they were extraordinary 
circumstances and calculated to arrest attention. 
At the birth of Jesus, the angels announced Him by 
a magnificent canticle ; a brilliant star announced 
Him to the people of the East; the Magi come to 
the palace of Herod to inquire for the newly born 
child. He is seen walking on the waters and com- 


Second Sunday after Epiphany. 

mauding the tempest; in the middle of a repast 
He changes water into wine ; with a few loaves He 
feeds many thousands of men ; by a word He heals 
the sick and raises the dead to life. At His death 
the sun is obscured, the earth trembles, the veil of 
the temple is rent in twain. Facts so remarkable 
as these must necessarily attract public attention 
Moreover, these extraordinary facts must claim the 
liveliest attention, since their object was the aboli- 
tion of the old worship and the foundation of the 
new one. The pagans on account of their attach- 
ment to idolatry, the Jews because of their respect 
for the Mosaic law, could not but take the most 
lively interest in these facts, which prepared de- 
struction for their temples and synagogues 

The second character of the Gospel miracles is 
their publicity. They are not, as the false prodi- 
gies which some affect to compare with them, ob- 
scure or hidden facts, to which only a small number 
of competent witnesses testify. They are public 
facts, evident and easily verified. It was in all the 
cities of Palestine, in the public places, under the 
very eyes of the doctors of the law, that Jesus mani- 
fested His power. They on whom these miracles 
were performed are designated by name, by their 
dwelling, by their profession ; they still reside, after 
their healing, in the same villages which witnessed 
their infirmities. The twofold fact of their malady 
and their healing is quickly known by their rela- 
tives and friends and fellow-citizens; their presence 
alone recalls to the whole country the prodigy to 


Divinity of Christ Proved by His Miracles. 6i 

which they owe their health. Thus the very char- 
acter of the evangelical facts destroys every suspi- 
cion of deceit and illusion, and alone should suffice 
to hinder us from questioning their truthfulness. 

Second Point.— The certitude of the Gospel mir- 
acles comes from the character of the witnesses who 
attest them. And who are the witnesses who tes- 
tify? They are, in the first place, the apostles and 
the disciples of the Saviour, and among them there 
are eight who present their testimony in writing. 
See, then, eight contemporary authors who recount 
facts of which they have been, almost all, witnesses 
or participators. And this is not enough ; but be- 
side these eight witnesses, whose writings we have, 
we know that, at the same time, the other apostles 
and all the disciples of Jesus, to the number of 
eighty at least, professed and proclaimed and at- 
tested the truth of the facts recorded. This impor- 
tant consequence must be admitted, that of all the 
most celebrated and unvarying facts of antiquity 
there are none so well attested as the miracles 
of Jesus. The history of Socrates, for example, 
is guaranteed by only two disciples, viz., Plato 
and Xenophon, still no one ever doubts concern- 
ing their narration. How does it happen, then, 
that any one could be found to deny the Gospel 
miracles ? What motive can the unbeliever allege 
to refuse the testimony of so many, who by their 
writings or their living words have transmitted 
to us the history of Jesus ? Shall it be said they 
were deceived, or that they combined to deceive 


Second Sunday after Epiphany, 

the world? These two suppositions cannot bear 
for a moment serious examination. 

It is impossible for the apostles to have been de- 
ceived. Whatever idea may be formed of them, 
of their ignorance, of their credulity, we shall never 
persuade ourselves that during three entire years 
their Master could have been able to impose on 
them, and concerning daily facts so numerous and 
so visible. Ignorance and credulity do not go so 
far as that. There would remain a contradiction 
too shocking, between the idiotic character of the 
apostles, which must be admitted in this hy- 
pothesis, and their character which is evident from 
their writings, from their labors, and from their 
success. Therefore, the apostles have not been 

It is equally impossible that the apostles wished 
to deceive. This impossibility is evident when we 
consider at what time, in what places, and before 
whom the apostles published the miracles of their 
Master. It was at the very moment when the facts 
occurred ; it was in the city of Jerusalem, the scene 
of the principal events ; it was in the midst of a 
multitude of false witnesses, when the least de- 
ception would have sufficed to confound them. It 
must be admitted that the time, the place, and the 
persons were badly selected to propagate an imposi- 

In fine, these men, who are supposed to be cheats 
and impostors, preached the purest morality, prac- 
tised the sublimest virtues, astonished and con- 

Divinity of Christ Proved by His Miracles, d^ 

founded their persecutors by the simplicity, the in- 
genuity, and the noble assurance of their discourses. 
They converted the world by the sanctity of their 
lives, and at length died in the midst of torments. 
How could they do all this for the senseless pleas- 
ure of sustaining a falsehood? We cannot recog- 
nize in these traits of character either impostors or 

But the apostles are not the only ones who give 
testimony to the truth of the Gospel miracles ; they^ 
are recognized and admitted by the very enemies 
of Jesus. The Jews thought they would weaken 
their effect on the people by attributing them to the 
power of the demon, and hence they accused their 
Author of violating the tranquillity of the Sabbath. 
But these accusations were so many witnesses in 
favor of the Gospel facts, since to blame them was 
an affirmation of their existence. 

Third Point, — The miracles which Jesus wrought 
have existing monuments to give testimony for 
them. There is a monument, visible to every one 
and permanently abiding with us, which is constant- 
ly testifying to the truth of the miracles worked by 
our Lord and Saviour: it is the establishment of His 
Church in the world. It could not exist, in fact, 
except as a consequence and the result of miracles. 
Strive to form a just idea of the enterprise of the 
apostles. They labored to substitute an austere 
morality, all abnegation and penance, for a mo- 
rality which was easy and convenient ; they taught 
incomprehensible mysteries, instead of fanciful 


Second Sunday after Epiphany, 

fables ; they taught that He who had been crucified 
on an infamous cross must be adored; they must 
triumph over the repugnance of passions, the pride 
of reason, popular prejudices, and the power of the 
Roman emperors ; and by what means shall all this 
be effected ? Here it is that the finger of God is 
most visible. Twelve poor fishermen, without 
credit, without eloquence, without wealth, without 
any human aid, undertai^e and execute the most 
extraordinary revolution which the annals of the 
human race have ever recorded. It is certainly 
most remarkable that under these unfavorable 
circumstances the apostles, sustained by the au- 
thority of miracles, should succeed; but that 
without miracles, and what is stranger still, with 
miracles reputed as false, they should succeed, this 
would be an inexplicable phenomenon, and a thou- 
sand times more incredible than all the miracles of 
Christianity. That the pagan world should aban- 
don its false deities and embrace the religion of a 
crucified God, it must have had some reason for be- 
lief. But the apostles proclaimed nothing else 
except the miracles of Christ. The world has wit- 
nessed miracles, and miracles so certain that the 
sharpest and most discerning can discover not the 
slightest vestige of trickery or deceit. The estab- 
lishment of the Christian religion is the most splen- 
did proof of this, since it constantly testifies to the 
truth of the evangelical facts. Jesus Christ has, 
then, performed miracles ; but God only can do this ; 
therefore, Jesus is God. 

Divinity of Christ Proved by His Miracles. 65 

Adorable Jesus, in the midst of blasphemies 
uttered by impiety, it is sweet for me to reflect on 
the titles Thou hast to my adorations as the Son of 
God and the Saviour of the world. Thus my faith 
is enlivened ; and may my love also become more 




^HE leper, whose healing is recounted to-day in 
the Gospel narrative, is the image of a soul 
. . . whom sin, and especially the sin of impurity 
has stained. There is a striking resemblance be' 
tween the consequences of leprosy and the conse- 
quences of the sin of impurity. Leprosy, as it is 
depicted m our sacred books, produced four effects 
on the unfortunate victim. First, it corrupted the 
blood and attacked the very sources of life; 2d it 
disfigured the body, and made it an object of dis- 
gust ; 3d, it condemned the leper to live far from the 
society of men; 4th, it made his society dangerous 
•because of the contagion. You shall find these dif- 
ferent effects in sin, and especially in the sin of 

First Point.— As leprosy corrupts the blood, so 
the sm of impurity corrupts the heart and vitiates 
the very life of the soul. It not only attacks the 
surf^e, but it attacks the most intimate sources of 
spiritual life. Under its dominion the soul quickly 
loses Its noblest faculties ; memory is weakened in- 
telligence enfeebled, and the noblest faculties 'are 
compelled to give way to ignoble instincts ; there 
IS no progress in science; application to study is 

Jesus Heals the Leper, 


impossible, no grand and elevated thoughts; the 
mind is narrowed, and genius becomes extinct. 

In the heart the effects are still more deplorable. 
It perverts the most happy dispositions and de- 
velops the most shameful desires; conscience is 
blunted and loses its first delicacy. The victim be- 
comes indifferent to disorders the very thought of 
which was once revolting; a stupid carelessness 
succeeds to vivacity of faith and fervor and piety. 
The tastes, the inclinations, and the very character 
are changed. Sin has done in the soul what leprosy 
has done in the body; it has corrupted it at the 
foundation, it has vitiated the very sources of life. 

Second Point, — As leprosy disfigures the body and 
makes it an object of horror and disgust, so sin dis- 
figures our souls and makes them an object of dis- 
gust to the heart of God. You would understand 
this second effect of sin if you could understand 
the beauty of a soul in a state of grace, the splendor 
with which it shines, the glory which surrounds it, 
and the holy pleasure with which God regards it. 
This beauty, it is true, has nothing exterior, noth- 
ing sensible. The prophet tells us " that the glory 
of the daughter of Sion is within her." None of 
those splendid rays fall on our mortal eyes, but the 
splendor is no less real. It is that which gives a 
charm to infancy, it is that refreshing grace which 
exercises over our hearts an empire as sweet as it 
is irresistible. 

To know the price of a soul adorned by grace, we 
must consult the Holy Scriptures ; for what is more 


Third Sunday after Epiphany. 

JcsMS Heals the Leper. 


reliable than the testimony of uncreated wisdom? 
Hear, therefore, what the Holy Spirit says of a soul 
ornamented with grace and the esteem which He 
has for it: "I who am your God, I who can deceive 
none, nor can I be deceived, I declare to you that 
I only consider silver as dross when compared with 
a just soul/' And is this enough? No; bring to- 
gether all the gold that is in the bowels of the 
earth : God considers all that as only a little grain 
of sand in comparison with a just soul. There are 
indeed many precious stones in the depths of the 
sea; they are so beautiful that they serve as orna- 
ments for vanity, and heighten by their splendor 
the glory of a diadem; but when God compares 
them with a just soul He finds the soul a thousand 
times more precious. It is a grand thing to rule 
over an extensive kingdom, to be seated on a bril- 
liant throne, but all that is nothing when compared 
with a soul adorned by grace. In a word, unite all 
glory, all beauty, all grandeur, yet all these cannot 
approach the beauty, the merit, the excellence of a 
soul which is clothed with grace and empurpled 
by the blood of the Son of God made man. 

Sin, as a hideous leprosy, strips the soul of its 
beauty and makes it an object of disgust and horror 
in the eyes of God. It is with tears in their eyes 
that the prophets deplore the unhappy state of a 
soul stained and disfigured by sin. Jeremias ex- 
claims: " How has the pure gold been changed into 
vile metal ! All the glory of the daughter of Sion 
has departed !** Unfortunate soul ! Who shall give 

to my eyes two sources of tears to weep for thy 
misfortune ? 

Third Point, — The law required that every leper 
should be driven from the people and separated 
^om his fellows as an unclean being. This is also 
the destiny of the sinner. As long as a man is in 
the state of grace, he is the child of God, the heir 
to heaven, the co-heir with Jesus. What a dignity ! 
He enjoys all the rights of the children of the 
Church, he shares in all the goods she possesses, he 
participates in the prayers of the saints in heaven 
and of the just on earth: he has a right to the 
merits of the august sacrifice, to all the indulgences 
which the Church draws from her treasury. What 
riches! But by sinning he loses everything — he 
loses his titles of child of God and citizen of heaven, 
he is deprived of all the merits he has acquired, 
and even of the right to acquire new merits. True, 
indeed, he is not cut off from the bosom of the 
Church ; he is always a member of it, but he is a 
dead member. He receives also certain graces, 
but they are weak graces, which his bad dispositions 
render sterile. In a word, he appears living in the 
eyes of men, but in the eyes of God he is dead. 
Oh, how horrible is this state, and how much you 
are to be pitied if you do not understand this mis- 
fortune ! 

Fourth Point, — There is a fourth effect common 
to sin and to leprosy: it is contagion. Leprosy is 
a malady to be feared so much because it is con- 
tagious. The leper communicated his malady to 


Third Sunday after Epiphany. 

all who approached him, unless suitable precautions 
were taken. This explains the severity of the laws 
regarding it and the reason of its universal repul- 
sion. Sin is also contagious, and is communicated 
and spread by bad words and by bad examples. A 
vicious friend shall lead you to vice; his corrupting 
discourse shall rob you of your faith, little by little; 
his undue confidences shall initiate you into the 
knowledge of evil ; his insidious words shall cause 
you to love him, and his conduct shall justify him 
in your eyes. 

Fear, then, the influence of a friend who is not 
most virtuous; break away from his society; fly 
from him as j^ou would fly from the sight of a 
serpent ; this is the advice which the Holy Spirit 
gives you by the mouth of the wise man. In giv- 
ing you this advice, he would teach you that a 
vicious friend contains within him a subtle poison, 
which escapes from his whole conduct, insinuates 
itself into the faculties of the soul, and carries with 
it ruin and death. 

O my God, preserve my soul from the leprosy of 
sin ; do not permit that, in becoming Thy enemy, I 
should lose that which in Thy eyes constitutes my 
true beauty, and that which can alone give me 
rights to heaven. Oh, may I never become for 
others the occasion of scandal or ruin ! But if I 
have had the misfortune to fall into sin, give me 
the strength to rise again, and to find in a generous 
confession both happiness and life, by obtaining 
Thy friendship again. 




HE sea on which the apostles embarked is the 
image of the world,— the sea. strewn with 
. . . dangers and countless shipwrecks. The ship 
which carries them is the figure of your soul in 
its journey towards eternity. The tempest which 
threatens to submerge them represents the tempta- 
tions of every kind, which embarrass us on our 
way to heaven. Every one experiences these 
temptations, the child and the young man, the full- 
grown man, and the aged; the Trappist in his 
solitude, as well as the worldly man in the midst 
of his festivities. The most scrupulous and exact 
piety is not even a safeguard from their attacks. 
Did not temptations come to those who were in 
closest companionship with Christ? Be careful, 
therefore, lest you believe that your love for God, 
your fervor in His service, your fidelity in the ful- 
filment of your duties shall shield you from tempta- 
tions. This would be a dangerous error. On the 
contrary, your piety and your innocence shall be 
the reason for the demon to make greater efforts to 
bring you under his dominion. There are hearts 
enough who deliver themselves up as a prey to their 
enemy. He is assured of these, but he is desirous 


Fourth Sunday after Epiphany. 

of choice souls like yours ; to make a conquest of 
them he redoubles his seductive snares. Still you 
must not be discouraged by temptations, but see in 
them the consolation that you are not as yet under 
his dominion. St. Francis de Sales has said that the 
dogs do not bark after the people who belong to the 
house, but only after strangers ; so the demon leaves 
in a sad peace those whom he knows belong to him 
and wearies the others by his pursuits, and invents a 
thousand artifices to turn them away from the paths 
of virtue. Alas, he only succeeds too well ' Just 
cast a glance about you: where are so many souls 
that were hitherto so fervent? What have become 
of them ? They have become a prey to the demon 
and now they languish far from God and from 
virtue, in a shameful slavery ! Weep for them, and 
conjure our good Lord to keep you far from such 

Second P^/W.-While the tempest raged and 
threatened to engulf the bark on which the apostles 
sailed, "Jesus slept. " This sleep of Jesus is the 
occasion of our great temptations and the principle 
of all our falling; it is the symbol of the languor 
which conducts a soul to those negligences which 
she permits, the distractions in which she allows her- 
self to be drawn— certain affections which are wholly 
natural and which have over her too great sway 
and especially the facility to commit light faults! 
True, indeed, these faults do not deprive us of the 
presence of Jesus, but they diminish the effect of 
His presence; they do not destroy His grace, but 

The Tempest Appeased by Jesus. 73 

they weaken and diminish it. Grave sins crucify 
Him in us, while light offences cause Him to sink 
into a deep sleep. This sleep of Jesus in our soul 
is not always a crime, but it is always a misfortune. 
In fact, it is during His sleep that the storms arise, 
that the passions are awakened, that the enemy, 
who never sleeps, renews with greater activity all 
his dangerous attacks. He is too weak to conquer 
us when we are divinely assisted, but he awaits 
the moment to combat with us when we are not 
assisted by this heavenly aid. If, therefore, you 
perceive that Jesus sleeps in you, awaken Him im- 
mediately. That is to say, if you feel your fervor 
weakening or your heart growing cold towards God, 
your courage unequal to the fulfilment of your 
duties, promptly renew your ardor and take heart 
again. A soldier should not lay aside his arms 
when he perceives the approach of the enemy ; on 
the contrary, then it is he should be animated by 
a new courage. 

However, be not presumptuous; and never for- 

get that you can do nothing by yourself your 

strength comes from God ; ask Him for His grace 
most earnestly. Even as the apostles, have re- 
course to the divine Master, and cry to Him with a 
profound feeling of your weakness: "Lord, save 
me, for without your aid I shall perish." Be as- 
sured, if you are faithful to invoke God in the mo- 
ment of danger, if you invoke Him with confi- 
dence, the same prodigy which was wrought for the 
apostles shall be wrought for you ; Jesus shall again 


Fourth Sunday after Epiphany. 

command the tempest to be appeased, and tran- 
quillity and calm shall be restored to your soul. 

Third Point. — But when the temptation shall have 

passed be assured your work is not over. Either 

you have successfully resisted, or you have yielded. 

If you have been fortunate enough to have resisted, 

do not claim for yourself the glory of this triumph. 

Be careful to refer all the honor of your victory to 

God. Gratitude for benefits received shall gain for 

you new blessings and attract new graces. Moses, 

after his victory over the Amalekites, erected an 

altar on the battlefield and there offered to God a 

sacrifice of thanksgiving. Bossuet praised the great 

Conde, the conqueror at Rocroy, for having intoned 

the Te Deum on the field of battle, thus recognizing 

that he was ind^Dted to God for his first victory. 

Imitate these examples, for, since yqu -are-^vre 

is impossible to^tmimph over th/^enemy by youi 

own unaided strengthT — ffls^^^the protection of 

the Virgin Mother and the assistance which God 

sends you by His angels that you are indebted for 

victory ; why then take the glory as if it had come 

from yourself? 

If you are obliged to admit defeat, then deplore 
it, but be not cast down or discouraged. Here 
there are two dangers to be feared: indifference 
and discouragement. Indifference, alas! is only 
too frequent. One commits sin and thinks of it no 
more; one is the enemy of God and remains tran- 
quil. Should you see some loved one die you can- 
not restrain your tears; but your soul is dead in sin. 

The Tempest Appeased by Jesus, 


Shall you be insensible to this spiritual death? Be 
on your guard against this guilty carelessness. You . 
have offended your God? then cast yourself on your 
knees and ask for pardon. Your soul is stained by 
sin? then do not remain in sin, but hasten to wash 
it away in the sacred waters of penance. 

Also avoid discouragement. This would be noth<^ 
ing less than a new outrage against God. And lety^ 
us ask, What can be the motive for discouragement? 
You have sinned ; do you think you are impeccable ? - 
Are you stronger than Samson, holier than David, 
or wiser than Solomon? Whence come, therefore, 
your discouragement and anger? God opens His 
heart to you ; have recourse to His mercy. Instead 
of being saddened or unduly discouraged, let the 
remembrance of your faults serve as a motive of 
greater humility, since you are so weak; more 
patience, since you have so much to expiate ; more 
charity, since you have so much need of indulgence. 
Oh, then shall your fault be a happy one, and even 
as God you shall draw good from evil. 

O my God, how good Thou. art! Thou experi- 
encest more pity than anger at the sight of Thy 
children's faults. I wish hereafter to entertain for 
Thee a truly filial confidence. If I have the mis- 
fortune to offend Thee, I shall cast myself into 
Thy arms, feeling well assured that Thou wilt not 
reject Thy repentant child. 



T^HE parable of the cockle mingled with the good 
grain in the field of the father of the family, 
. . . furnishes us an occasion of meditating on the 
mingling of the good and the bad in the Church of 
Jesus Christ. Consider how some become bad, why 
God allows the association of the good and the 
wicked, what duties devolve on you, and how this 
mixture of good and bad shall terminate. 

First Point. — How men become wicked. We can- 
not accuse God as the cause of this mingling of 
good and bad which afflicts the Church so much ; 
every sinner must accuse himself only for his per- 
versions. God has done everything for us that we 
should be good and virtuous. Not to mention here 
the sacrifice of the cross, which has been the prin- 
ciple of all justice and every virtue worthy of the 
name, how many graces have followed for us? 
Grace of the sacraments, grace of holy inspiration, 
grace of instruction and good example. There has 
been no admixture; yet after all this the servants 
of the good master were obliged to say : " Master, 
have you not sown good grain in your field? How 
comes it we find cockle there?'' Was ever reply 
more just? "It is my enemy that has done this." 

The Mingling of the Good and the Wicked. 77 

Yes, the demon, ever hostile to Jesus, a^d the pas- 
sions ever hostile to our happiness — these are the 
enemies whose artifices and cruel influence we 
must always fear. 

And how does the demon come to pervert even 
the most virtuous hearts and subject them to his 
rule? Jesus Himself tells us; he comes in the 
night, and as a thief. Well does Satan know that, if 
he presented sin in its true colors to an innocent soul, 
he should be surely rejected ; therefore he presents 
it under a deceitful color and as if in the night. 
He persuades us that this thought, this doubt, 
this society, this association is most innocent, and 
under the pretext of that pretended innocence we 
yield and insensibly entangle ourselves in his snares. 
The evil which is the consequence of our want of 
foresight is not perceived at once, but it is not the 
less real. Thus the cockle while it is only in the 
germ does not appear, but after its growth it 
saddens our heart. We must constantly watch and 
be on our guard, if we would protect our hearts 
from the first attacks of evil; every temptation is 
easily rejected at the outset, but once let it enter 
the soul, it will be a difficult thing to drive it 
out. Therefore it is our blessed Saviour gives us 
this advice, to which we cannot be too faithful: 
" Watch,'* not indeed to hinder the temptation : that 
is impossible; but "lest you enter into tempta- 
tion" — that is, not to allow it to enter your heart. 

Second Point. — Why does God allow this mingling 
of the good and the wicked? It is through His 


Fifth Sunday after Epipliany, 

bounty for sinners ; ^the tolerance which God mani- 
fests for them is a marvel of His mercy. "The 
long patience of God, " says St. Paul, " invites sinners 
to repentance." Isaias says "it is to pardon them 
that he awaits them;" and the prophet Ezechiel 
adds: "God does not wish the death of a sinner, 
but that he may be converted and live." We can- 
not but admire here the unspeakable goodness of 
God. If divine justice had struck you when you 
were under the yoke of sin, where would you be 
now? Alas, even in this very moment where 
would you go, if the Supreme Judge came to de- 
mand the account which you must one day render? 
With regard to the just, their mingling with 
sinners serves for their sanctification. It is in per- 
secutions that virtue is purified ; it is in temptations 
it is strengthened; virtue must be exercised if it 
shall become sustaining. The trials of every kind 
to which the wicked subject the good keep them in 
continual activity and hinder them from growing 
weary in well-doing. Virtue is never more beau- 
tif ul than when it is victorious over illusions, seduc- 
tions, bad examples, contempt, threats, and the per- 
secutions of the world, which are always anxious 
to corrupt and desirous of being corrupted. 

Third Point, — What should our conduct be with 
regard to sinners? The tolerance whictrCod man- 
ifests towards them must oblige us to tolerate them 
also, and to treat them with sweetness and indul- 
gence. And by what right could you reject those 
whom God Himself tolerates? Perhaps this im- 

The Mingling of the Good and the Wicked, 79 

pious one or that sinner, whose conduct is revolt- 
ing to you, may be destined to become a vessel of 
election. Perhaps these sinners may be called to 
a higher sanctity than you whose indiscreet sever- 
ity would hurl anathemas against them. Alas ! you 
who have such great need of indulgence, how can 
you show such little indulgence to others ? 

A second duty towards sinners is to labor as much 
as you can for their conversion. There are two 
means to attain this desirable end, and the first is 
our own example. This means is, the first of all, 
the most efficacious and most free from all incon- 
venience. We should give to sinners a salutary 
horror for vice by the sight of our own virtues, and 
by seeing what we are they shall learn to blush for 
what they are. 

The second means to convert the wicked is 
prayer. The prayers of the just shall procure for 
them the grace of conversion. To the prayers of 
St. Stephen and St. Monica the Church is indebted 
, for her two great lights— St. Paul and St. Augus- 
tine. God wishes only to pardon and to bless, but 
His mercy must be implored by the prayers of the 
just. By the mouth of His prophet He tells us: 
" I have sought a man who shall stand between My 
justice and the sinner, to arrest My arm, but I have 
not found him." Make it your duty to interpose 
between God and so many sinners who are rushing 
blindly to the abyss; this should be a sweet duty 
to discharge when it is a question of obtaining the 
conversion of a friend or the salvation of a father 



Fifth Sunday after Epiphany, 

or a mother. How can you refuse to procure for 
yourself a joy so worthy of a Christian heart? 

Fourth Point. — How shall the mingling of the 
good and bad terminate? By the chastisement of 
the wicked and the recompense of the good. " At 
the time of the harvest, I shall say to the reapers, 
Gather up first the cockle and bind it in bundles to 
burn, but the wheat, gather into my barn.** Be- 
hold the destiny of both : strive to comprehend the 
consequences, first with regard to sinners. The 
words of the parable alone suffice to make you 
appreciate the rigorous chastisement which awaits 
them. The time of the harvest is the end of the 
world, and the reapers are the angels. In the har- 
vest, time the cockle is gathered and given to the 
flames, and so the Son of man, at the end of the 
world, shall send His angels, who shall take from 
His kingdom all scandalous sinners and those who 
have committed iniquity, and shall cast them into 
the furnace of fire, where " there shall be weeping 
and gnashing of teeth.*' 

Behold the frightful destiny of the wicked. But 
oh, how much the destiny of the just is to be en- 
vied! Jesus Himself says: "Then the just shall 
shine as the sun in the kingdom of their Father." 
He then adds : " He that has ears to hear, let him 

O my God, who is there that shall not be awak- 
ened from sleep, in reflecting on these great truths ? 
Let the impious and libertine close their ears, lest 
they should hear, but it shall be their own folly and . 

The Mingling of the Good and the Wicked. 8i 

misfortune. For myself I ask, O my God, a docile 
heart to profit by such an important lesson. De- 
tach my heart from all that is transitory, that I may 
comprehend and taste what is eternal. Ah, Lord, 
grant that Thy justice may terrify me, that Thy 
goodness may assure me, that Thy law may be my 
rule, and that, walking here below in Thy light, I 
may attain, one day, to Thy glory. 

The Establishment of the Church, 




T^HE grain of mustard seed, of which Jesus speaks 
to-day in the Gospel, which is the smallest of all 
• . . seeds and in time becomes one of the largest 
plants, is the natural emblem of the feeble begin- 
ning and the rapid progress of Christianity. This 
association of extreme weakness and all-powerful 
strength in religion is the most striking proof of 
its divinity. You will comprehend it, if you con- 
sider, on the one hand, the obstacles which were 
opposed to the establishment of Christianity, and, 
on the other, the seeming weak means which have 
surmounted every opposition. 

First Point. — The obstacles which opposed the 
establishment of religion came from within herself 
and from the world without. She had against her 
the obscurity of her dogmas. In fact, she labored 
to obtain from pagan peoples the abandonment and 
the sacrifice of all their beliefs, and also to ask them 
to adopt mysteries which were wholly inexplicable 
to reason— the mystery of but one God the Creator, 
and in this only God three persons who participate 
in the divinity without dividing it, and a unity of 
nature in a trinity of persons. With this mystery 
of the Trinity there was another still more incom- 

prehensible, viz., a God made man. To these two 
great mysteries join the dogma of original sin and 
all the truths associated with and dependent on it — 
the human race, whole and entire, tainted by the 
fault of only one person! even children stained 
in the wombs of their mothers ; a virgin who gives 
birth and yet without ceasing to be a virgin; a God 
who dies on a cross, and this first sacrifice to be 
renewed on our altars from age to age; priests 
clothed with the power of pardoning sins ; and, what 
is more prodigious still, these priests at the altar 
distributing to the faithful their God, who after re- 
deeming them nourishes them with His substance! 
Behold some of the truths which the apostles 
preached. What man could have dared to invent 
such a doctrine? What men would have been so 
senseless as to preach it, or to believe it, if it had 
no other support than the mere word of a man ? 

Religion had against her the severity of her mo- 
rality. There was in her teachings no sweet or con- 
venient philosophy which smiled on the passions, 
which promised festivals, or invited her followers to 
joys and pleasures. No ; it is a religion of detach- 
ment, abnegation, and penance; her precepts and 
especially her maxims are fearful to nature. You 
can form some idea of the opposition that religion 
must contend against in the world, if you recall the 
strange words by which the Son of man begins His 
moral code. "Blessed are they"— but who are 
"they"? The rich or the powerful ones of the 
world ? Hitherto this was the universal belief, but 


Sixth Sunday after Epiphany, 

it was an error which the world loved to believe. 
But Jesus exclaimed: "Blessed are they who 
mourn." " Blessed are they who suffer persecution 
for justice sake. '* He had already said : " He who 
wishes to come after Me must deny himself; he 
must take up his cross daily and follow Me/' These 
maxims and these precepts were far from being at- 
tractive, it must be admitted, especially for men who 
were habituated to the sensuality and luxury which 
the pagan religion authorized. These teachings 
were, therefore, a second obstacle— humanly speak- 
ing, insurmountable— to the enterprise of the 

To these obstacles add the prejudices which the 
Christian religion must at once develop. It was a 
new religion ; it had just been born ; and the dis- 
graceful punishment of its Author had already at- 
tached to it a character of ignominy and disgrace. 
A religion which attacked every prejudice, every 
habit, and every popular belief must necessarily 
have against her the natural repugnances, the force 
of inclination, the tyranny of habit, the impressions 
of education and of custom. Humanly speaking, 
contempt and public ridicule should welcome these 
twelve miserable fishermen, preaching a God cruci- 
fied and imploring the homages of a pagan world 
for a man attached to an infamous gibbet. 

Second Point. — You have just seen the obstacles 
which arose for the apostles from the very nature 
of their enterprise. Consider the obstacles which 
they were obliged to overcome from the world with- 

The Establishment of the Church. 


out. The epoch when they received their mission 
to found a new religion precisely coincided with 
the age of Augustus,— this famous age, which sug- 
gests to our mind the idea of exalted tastes, talents, 
and genius ; an age rich in great orators, philoso- 
phers, poets, and historians; but, let us add, the age 
of corruption as well as of science. It was to such 
men, who were vain of their knowledge, that the 
apostles came to preach a doctrine whose dogmas 
appeared shocking to reason. It was to these men, 
plunged in delicacy and luxury, that they came to 
prescribe rules of conduct which wounded the most 
imperious desires of their hearts. 

But these obstacles, however great they may be, 
are nothing compared with the efforts which the 
whole world made to hinder the establishment of 
Christianity. And what do we see at the birth of 
the Church? Hell unchained raises against her all 
the powers of earth. Philosophers and a multitude 
of sophists, spread out in the East and the West, 
join their talents and their lights to arrest the prog- 
ress of Christianity. They pervert its dogmas, 
revile its mysteries, and ridicule its worship. Cel- 
sus, Porphyrus, and Julian compose lampoons, in 
which they display all the resources of their genius, 
to uphold idolatry and to decry the new religion. 

To the perfidy of reasoning and of calumny the 
bloodiest persecutions are added. The people arise 
as one man against the faithful ; the cities reject 
them from their walls; while the provinces arm 
themselves with the firm intent of extermination. 


Sixth Sunday after Epiphany: 

Nor IS this enough : legal persecution is organized, 
public force is opposed as a huge barrier to the 
progress of Christianity. The emperors, by their 
edicts, point out what must be the vigilance and 
cruelty of the magistrates. Persecution becomes 
general in the whole empire; everywhere the 
Christians are pursued as public enemies; neither 
the bosom of their families, nor the crevices of the 
rocks, nor the solitude of the deserts shall shield 
them from the rigor of the laws. When the ordi- 
nary punishments did not suffice, new torments 
were invented or the old ones were renewed, 
which are enough to make one shudder. Neither 
rank, age, sex, virtue, services rendered to the ^ 
country, in fact nothing could pardon the crime of 
bemg a Christian. The persecution organized 
against the disciples of Christ was not a persecution 
of some days, or some years, but it was by ages 
that we must count the persecutions of the Church 
We cannot follow it during three hundred years 
except by the traces of blood which was shed and 
by the light of the funeral piles kindled against 
her. These are the obstacles which Christianity 
was obliged to overcome even at her very birth. 

Now that you know both the project of the 
apostles and the obstacles which opposed them in 
their enterprise, strive to see if success were pos- 
sible in the ordinary course of things. On the 
one hand, there is a religion, sweet, pompous, and 
agreeable, which is believed to have been estab- 
lished by the gods and which is considered as an- 

The Establishment of the Church, 


cient as the world; on the other hand, a religion 
severe, mysterious, and wholly new. In the first 
were the sages, the philosophers, the armies, and 
the entire universe ; in the second there were some 
ignorant men, without defence, without support, 
without assistance ; on one side there were author- 
ity, inhumanity, fury; on the other there were 
weakness, patience, and death. On what side must 
victory come? Which one must win? Evidently 
the palm belongs to idolatry. But no ; the emperors 
from their high thrones ordain that the gods must 
be adored. But the gods are despised. Twelve 
Galileans summon the universe to the feet of their 
crucified Master; and the world hastens to obey 
them, in spite of tortures, scaffolds, and funeral 
piles. Can you not see here the finger of God ? It 
is visible to all eyes ; and if this submission of the 
human race has not been secured by the force of 
miracles, the conversion of the world would be 
more strange and astonishing than all miracles. 

O my God, how I love to reflect on those prodi- 
gies which prove the divinity of the Church ; my 
faith in them becomes livelier and more profound ; 
may my love for them become more ardent and 
more generous. 



rpirst Point. — Under the figure of the father of 
the family who goes out early in the morning 

. . to engage laborers for his vineyard, it is easy 
to recognize God, the common Father of all men. 
By the agency of His ministers or by the secret 
promptings of grace He does not cease to call us to 
Himself, and entreats us to labor in His vineyard, 
that is to say, in the cultivation of our soul. If the 
vineyard in which the father of the family sends 
his workmen represents a figure of the soul, it is in 
accordance with the word of God itself. In fact, 
everywhere in Holy Scripture we find that God 
claims our souls as His domain. And this is, after 
all, only just, since we belong to Him by the most 
legitimate titles. Is it not He who has formed us 
with His own hands? Is it not from Him that we 
hold all that we have and all that we are ? And 
not content with having created our soul and en- 
riched it with the most magnificent gifts, God has 
reconquered it from the demon by redeeming it 
with His blood ; hence we belong to Him by the 
triple right of birth, conquest, and love. The soul 
thus redeemed God places in our keeping; it is a 

Parable of the Laborers and the Vineyard, 89 

trust He has confided to us ; it is the field which He 
commands us to cultivate and make fruitful for Him. 

If the field of our soul remain sterile, this fault 
cannot be imputed to the Father of the family, since 
He has done for her all He could do. He has placed 
her in the bosom of the Church, where she receives 
the abundance of graces which God does not cease 
to pour out on this blessed soil ; He surrounds her 
with the sacraments, and she participates in all the 
benefits which Jesus has merited by His death. She 
has been overwhelmed by every kind of grace and 
enriched by every blessing. Can she ask of God 
anything more? In confiding to us the culture of 
a land thus prepared, has He not the right to ex- 
pect some fruit in return? Here reflect seriously 
on yourself ; recall the graces you have hitherto re- 
ceived, all the means of sanctification which have 
been lavished on you, and ask yourself what return 
you have made? 

Second Point. — The different hours at which the 
father of the family sends the laborers to his vine- 
yard mark the different ages at which we give our- 
selves to the service of God : infancy, youth, mature 
years, and old age. At all times of our life, the 
Father of the human race, our first, our truest 
Father, comes to us to urge us to labor for our 
sanctification. He it is who always makes the first 
advances. He goes out to seek us in the public 
place, that is to say, in the midst of the dissipations 
of life, in the tumult of business, in the pleasures of 
the world. Our very faults do not discourage Him ; 


Septuagesinia Sunday. 

however great they may be, still His merciful ^ood- 
ness extends a pardon to us, and even urges us to 
merit It. He exhorts us to labor for our sanctifica- 
tion by the words which His ministers address us- 
by the religious objects which He exposes to our 
view; by the examples of virtue of which He 
makes us witnesses; by the disgrace with which He 
afflicts us; by the sudden deaths with which He 
visits our imitators and, perhaps, the accomplices 
of our sins ; in a word, by all the circumstances with 
which He does not cease to surround us. 

He especially exhorts us by the different senti- 
ments which He excites within us. Have no doubt 
about It: these pious promptings. which you experi- 
ence, these holy thoughts which are suggested 
from time to time to your mind, this remorse 
which troubles you, the inquietudes, which disturb 
you at the remembrance of your sins— these are all 
so many inspirations which God sends you and so 
many exhortations which He addresses you If 
hitherto you have remained deaf to His invitations 
you have reason to fear lest He cease to call you 
and, as it were, pursue you. Do not persevere in 
a resistance which may be fatal to you; cease to 
offer your refusal to His tenderness, and have for 
your soul as much pity as He Himself has for it 

Third Point. -1\,^ evening at last had come, and 
the father of the family said to his steward • " Call 
the laborers and pay them their hire beginning from 
the last even to the first. " When the evening of life 
shall come-that solemn moment when our labors 

Parable of the Laborers and the Vineyard. 91 

shall have terminated and the recompense shall 
begin— we shall appear before the Steward, before 
Jesus, who has been appointed by His Father the 
Judge of the living and the dead. The soul at her 
departure from the body, in which she has so long 
been enclosed, shall see herself suddenly transported 
to the foot of the supreme tribunal, and the state 
in which she is found at that moment shall fix her 
lot for eternity. She shall be for all eternity either 
adorned and brilliant by the virtues with which she 
is enriched, or she shall be stained, disfigured, and 
punished for the sins with which she is covered. 

And, perhaps, you are surprised to see the Master 
of the vineyard giving to all the laborers the same 
recompense,— the same to those who have labored 
only an hour as to those who have borne the heat 
and the burdens of the day. This is a warning 
which Jesus gives us. He would teach us that God 
shall dispense His recompense, not according to the 
time engaged, but according to the fervor which 
has been brought to the work. He regards the 
quality rather than the quantity of the labor; He 
weighs the work instead of counting it. Oh, happy 
are they who from their early youth have borne 
the yoke of the Lord ; they certainly have great ad- 
vantages ; but, at last, the time of labor can also be , 
rewarded because of the devotion which has been 
given. The traveller who starts on his journey too 
late may, by hastening, reach and even pass him 
who started early in the morning and who walked 


Septuagesima Sunday. 

And this also explains these other words of the 
Father of the family, viz. : " The first shall be last 
and the last shall be first. " Our divine Saviour does 
not wish us to understand that they who begin late 
in the service of God shall, therefore, precede those 
who shall have served Him early. Far from us this 
thought which is so injurious to divine justice and 
wisdom, and which should be calculated to encour- 
age a delay of conversion so severely condemned. 
The sense of these words is, simply, that among 
those who are last in the order of their vocation 
very many shall become first in the order of glory • 
that we shall see sinners converted, more penetrated 
by humility, more inflamed by charity than certain 
just men ; and that they who shall have labored for 
their salvation but a short time, and more effec- 
tively, shall surpass those who shall have labored a 
longer time, but with less zeal and ardor. 

O my God, how long Thou hast already called me 
and I have always resisted the voice of Thy grace ' 
To-day Thou callest me still, and I wish to profit 
by this new appeal to labor in Thy vineyard, that 
IS to say, for my salvation, with promptitude, since 
I have lost so much time ; with fidelity, since all 
my moments belong to Thee ; with perseverance 
since the recompense is given only to those who 
labor until evening has come; with courage to 
repair the lost time; with fervor, since Thy recom- 
pense shall be measured, not by the time spent in 
Thy service, but by the ardor with which it shall 
be accomplished. 




rpirst Point. — Four kinds of hearers usually sur- 
round the Christian pulpit. The first are 
. . likened to the great highway on which a part 
of the seed falls, as is mentioned in the Gospel par- 
able to-day ; the birds gather it up, or the travellers 
trample it under their feet. There are some 
characters so flippant that nothing can make them 
fixed or resolute, and whose lively imagination 
runs from one object to another, touching lightly on 
everything, without going to the bottom of any. 
They are enemies of all reflection and of all serious 
thought; meditation kills them. They are emo- 
tional and seek to satisfy their desires in silly ro- 
mances and sensational sheets. You may see them 
receive the most serious truths with a smile of in- 
difference, while they are suffused with tears at 
the recital of some romantic adventure. There 
can be nothing done with minds of this character. 
They come, indeed, at certain epochs during the 
year to hear God's word, but this is nothing seri- 
ous for them. For them it is a pastime, a matter 
of curiosity, a means of distraction, and this is all. 
Holy advice, inspirations of grace, remorse of con- 
science which alarms them, the remembrance of 


Sexagesima Sunday. 

a past which causes them to blush, the terror of 
the future, the distaste for the world, the ordinary 
effect of the Gospel words, fall on their frivolous 
minds; but the different thoughts which pass and 
repass incessantly in them quickly efface even the 
least traces of the sacred word. They are the 
travelled and open highways; there the demon finds 
easy access, and before it can germinate he takes 
away the precious seed which is sown. This is the 
arst obstacle to the development of the word of 
Lrod — dissipation of mind. 

Second Point.-" Knoih^r part fell on the stony 
ground and, after springing up, was parched, be- 
cause there was no moisture. " Two kinds of hearers 
are figured by this stony ground in which the good 
seed cannot take root. The first and the most 
pitiable are those who are voluntarily deaf- their 
hearts are hardened and have become as stone with 
regard to the word of God. We could scarcely 
believe it. if there was net the saddest experience 
to convince us. There are men who are determined 
to remain just as they are. They come to hear the 
word of God spoken with a fixed resolution of not 
profiting by it. Let them hear the most touching ex- 
hortations, let the most terrible truths be presented 
to them, even if the grace of a retreat or a mis- 
sion is offered them, it is all useless. They hear 
nothing, they will profit by nothing; they are the 
minds of that character which the prophet indi^- 
nantly depicts when he exclaims: "They have 
closed their ears, lest they should hear." What 

The Word of God. 95 

shall be the consequences of this studied and syste- 
matic resistance to the truth which is spoken ex- 
teriorly, and to the grace which urges and solicits 
interiorly? The very thought makes the heart 
grow cold. Our blessed Saviour exclaims: "Woe 
to you, Jerusalem, because if Tyre and Sidon had 
received the same graces as you have, they would 
have done penance in sackcloth and ashes. They 
shall be treated with less rigor than you." Yes, 
on the judgment day the infidel shall find an excuse 
in the misfortune of his birth, the heretic shall find 
an excuse in his ignorance, but you, reared in the 
bosom of the true Church, you, enlightened by so 
many lights and surrounded by so many graces,' 
what excuse shall you have? 

The second kind of hearers figured by the stony 
ground on which the precious seed falls is com- 
posed of all those Christians in whom certain pas- 
sions have reached a state of habit. These form an 
almost insurmountable obstacle to the effects of the 
divine word. They hear it with pleasure, they ad- 
mit the truth of all the reproaches hurled against 
them, and they would wish to be converted. Far 
from flying from the truth , they seek it. Should the 
preacher speak of the divine mercies,, their hearts 
are touched; they make splendid promises-. Cast- 
ing a glance on the disorders of their past life, their 
eyes are bathed in tears; but scarcely have they left 
the house of God than everything is forgotten. 
The old habits weigh them down, they succumb to 
the first flame of passion, the good germ is parched; 


Sexagesima Sunday. 

the root is necessary if the good seed would de- 
velop. The second obstacle to the development of 
the word of God is a depraved will. 

Third PotnL— The third obstacle to the effect of 
the sacred word comes from attachment to the 
things of the world, whatever may be the name by 
which you designate them. They are represented 
by the thorns in which the good seed falls. It 
grows there, it is true ; the germ is developed, but 
it is stifled at its birth by the thorns which cover 
and clog the soil. This is the too common effect 
of pleasures and riches. Whoever possesses them 
finds much difficulty in extricating his heart from 
them, and the heart which is charmed by them 
affords very little access to the truths of salvation. 
It is true that the riches and pleasures of life are 
not criminal things in themselves, but the abuse 
which we make of them, and the affection we have 
for them, soon render them criminal. 

Our divine Saviour compares the pleasures of the 
world to thorns, because they produce the same 
effect. If at first they spread on our pathway 
some agreeable flowers, soon they will embarrass 
us. Then they will make us feel their sharpened 
points, and in time they will wound us. See that 
young man, or that young woman, who has heard 
the divine word with docility and who has profited 
by it, who carefully cultivates the virtues which 
grace has germinated in her heart, but who, at 
the same time, cherishes a love for the world ; be- 
cause this love, which is moderate in the beginning, 



TAe Word of God. 97 

does not lead them into grave faults they imagine 
their virtue has received no wound; they think 
that in spite of the words of Christ they can serve 
two masters, and can continue to love the world 
without ceasing to love God. Fatal error; profane 
attachments grow and are strengthened, and in 
the same proportion religious inclinations are 
diminished and weakened. 

The evil is so great that it is not perceived. 
There is surely an increase on the one hand, and a 
decrease on the other. Because the same pious 
practices are continued, do we believe the same 
virtues are also continued? The exterior acts are 
the same, but the heart is already changed. After 
having lost the taste for pious exercises, there is no 
delay in losing the use of them also. We easily 
omit what has been done without inclination and 
by constraint; moreover, we are skilful to find pre- 
texts for shortening certain practices and omitting 
others; this remissness insensibly leads to sloth, 
and the interval from sloth to sin is very short. See 
how worldly attachments lead us, little by little, 
when they are not early uprooted. 

O my God, to what can I attribute the little fruit 
I have hitherto drawn from so many instructions, 
unless to my bad dispositions? Have pity on me. 
Lord ; change my heart. Give me a new one, in 
which Thy word shall remain, take root, and pro- 
duce those fruits of salvation which Thou hast a 
right to expect from me. 




^HE blind man of Jericho, whose healing is re- 
counted in the Gospel of this day, is the image 
... of a soul which has fallen into spiritual blind- 
ness. Consider well the characters and the rem 
edies of this moral blindness, which is the saddest 
of all. 

First Point.— T\iQ characters of spiritual blind- 
ness. As Jesus approached Jericho He met a blind 
man seated on the wayside and asking alms To 
understand this species of blindness which falls 
upon smners you have only to look about you. 
Have you not been sometimes terrified at the in- 
sensibility of certain men for their eternal interests? 
Religion, which has converted the world by the 
sublimity of its teachings, is for them only a mass 
of gross reveries. Morality, which has brought on 
earth the reign of virtue, is in their eyes only fanat- 
icism or superstition. The most heroic examples 
of virtue, instead of exciting in them a sentiment 
of admiration, only provoke pity and contempt. 
The most touching exhortations awaken their cu- 
riosity without appealing to their mind or heart 
They commit crime after crime, violate the most 
sacred engagements, revel in blasphemy, and re- 


Spiritual Blindness. 


main perfectly tranquil. Duties which every reas- 
onable being owes to his Creator are put aside; 
laws of the Church, to which every Christian should 
be submissive, are trampled underfoot; they pub- 
lish scandals and what is baneful to religion, and 
still believe themselves irreproachable, and ask 
what evil have they done. They live without re- 
morse, and die undisturbed and fall into the aveng- 
ing hands of God, whom they have despised. Can 
there be a state more fearful than this in the eyes 
of reason and in the eyes of faith ? 

The blind man of Jericho, to sustain his sad ex- 
istence, asked of those who passed by an alms, 
which was often refused him. The Gospel says he 
was begging — mendicans. This is the second char- 
acter of spiritual blindness. In the bosom of the 
Catholic Church, the depository of eternal truths, in 
the midst of that light with which Christianity has 
inundated the world, in the midst of so many means 
to find repose of mind and peace of heart, they who 
are stricken become mendicants. They ask of 
reason light which they have not ; they ask of hu- 
man wisdom the truth which she cannot give ; they 
ask of pleasure joys of which she is ignorant. In 
their need of joys, their famished souls extend 
their hands to the passions and to pleasures. Each 
passion and each pleasure deposits an alms, but it is 
only an alms; it may suffice to solace, or rather to 
distract, the heart for a moment, but it is powerless 
to satisfy the need which devours it; it remains 
hungry and is always begging — mendicans. 



Qtiinquagesuna Sunday. 

The blind man of Jericho was seated on the way- 
side. This is the last trait which characterizes 
those who are spiritually blind. They are near the 
way which conducts to truth, to virtue, to life, and 
still they do not wish to enter there. Reflect on 
this expression, which contains a truth at once pro- 
found and true— "He was sitting.*' It is not said 
that he was standing and ready to walk, but he was 
seated ; he remained there in stupid repose, unmind- 
ful of what was passing around him. This expres- 
sion is sufficient to make us understand that he was 
satisfied in his unfortunate carelessness, preferring 
an unworthy repose to generous effort which would 
place him in the right way. This is only a too true 
picture of those sinners of whom we are speaking. 
They are outside the way which conducts to salva- 
tion, and are not striving to re-enter it. To do this 
they should be most active, and instructed in their 
duties, and resist their passions, or at least make 
some efforts; but they love their ease beyond any- 
thing else, and nothing can determine them to 
abandon their tranquillity. And thus the privation 
of all truth, the want of all good works, and com- 
plete carelessness of salvation are the characters of 
this terrible malady which is called spiritual blind- 
ness. We shall now see how it may be healed. 

Second Point. — For a complete cure of spiritual 
blindness, the first thing which must be done by 
him who is afflicted is to be instructed in his re- 
ligion and to make known his uncertainties and 
doubts to those who can resolve them. At the 

Spiritual Blindness. 


sound of the voices which were about him and the 
noise made by the multitude which had followed 
Jesus, the blind man informed himself of all that 
passed. He asked "what it was." Well, Chris- 
tianity passes near us, is about us on every side, 
with its laws, its dogmas, its blessings, its threats, 
and its promises. We should inform ourselves 
what it is, we should study the claims and proofs on 
which it rests, the duties it imposes, and labor 
earnestly to merit the blessings which it promises. 
We should avoid the evils with which it threatens 
us, since eternity is well worth the trouble which 
all this requires. Indifference in this matter is 
wholly unjustifiable. 

The second thing to do in a case of spiritual 
blindness is to pray. Faith is a gift of God, and this 
gift we all receive in Baptism. This explains the 
facility with which we believe the highest mysteries, 
even in tenderest infancy, and as long as we pre- 
serve purity of heart. But when, by bad books, 
sinful conversations, voluntary doubts, and by in- 
dulgence of our passions we have driven the spirit 
of faith from our intelligence, we cannot again re- 
call it, except by most fervent prayer. But you say, 
"I wish I could have faith!*' Have you prayed to 
obtain it? Reflect on the prayer of the blind man 
imploring his healing, and strive to imitate his 
fervor. "Have pity on me. Lord, Son of David!" 
See how he feels his malady, how he desires a re- 
turn of health. And what perseverance in his 
prayer! They who are near to him endeavor to 


Quinquagesima Sunday, 

impose silence on him, but he seems unmindful of 
them and is not at all influenced by their words; he 
even cri^ louder still. From the moment you wish 
to belong to God the world will blame you. Preju- 
dices, habits, passions shall strive to turn you away 
from prayer. However, still remain faithful to it, 
since your healing and your salvation will be due 
to your perseverance. 

O my God, I address Thee with the prayer which 
the poor blind man employed — " Son of David, have 
pity on me!** Have pity, because of the sad state 
to which sin has reduced me. Make known to me 
my misfortune in its fullest extent ; I do not know it 
sufficiently. Place in my heart a lively and pro- 
found sorrow for my sins, which should be there 
and which I do not find there. Inspire me with 
those strong, courageous, and efficacious resolutions 
which I strive in vain to form. Break these crim- 
inal attachments and these vicious habits which I 
have not the strength to break. Reform my sad 
inclinations which drag me down in spite of my 
feeble eflforts. Have pity on me, Lord ! Have pity 
on my weakness ! 



• • • 


HE most important and the most necessary lesson 
•which can be given to men is to remind them 
that they are only dust and that they shall 
return to dust. It is the most important lesson, 
since on death depends their eternity; it is the 
most necessary lesson, because the thought of death 
is the thought which men reject with greatest care. 
Enter to-day into the spirit of the Church, and 
strive to procure for yourself a Christian death by 
preparing yourself for it seriously. 

First Point.— T\vQ exercise of the preparation for 
death consists in being persuaded of death. It is 
difficult for one to prepare for something of which 
he is not yet convinced. Now there is nothing, or 
almost nothing, of which we are less persuaded than 
death. Indeed, we well know, in general, that we 
shall one day die ; but we assure ourselves with the 
hope that it shall not be soon, that it shall not be in 
this sickness, that it shall not be to-day or to- 
morrow. However, what disposes us for a good 
death is not merely to know, in speculation, that we 
must die, but to be actually seized by this thought: 
I shall die and my hour approaches; I shall die, 


Ash Wednesday, 

and It shall be in some one of these years that I 
vainly promise myself; I shall die, and it shall be 
at the moment and in the manner that I had least 

But what does the enemy of our salvation do? 
He does not strive to persuade us that we shall not 
die, but he persuades us that we shall not die, neither 
this week, nor this month, nor this year. It seems 
that we are even of the same mind as he is on that 
matter, for not only are we never well persuaded of 
death in the sense of which we have just spoken, 
but we do not wish to be, and we put away all 
thoughts from us that would serve to convince us 
of It. Hence it follows that, for the most part, men 
die without believing they are dying, and almost 
always with the presumptuous assurance of not 
dying. Hence it follows that these very men to 
whom constantly and visibly, in the age and in Ihe 
state m which they are, there remain fewer days to 
live, are those who labor most for life ; hence it fol- 
lows that the dying ones never know whether thev 
are dying or not, because it is expected that they do 
not wish to know it and every one conspires to de- 
ceive them. Be on your guard against this danger 
alas! so common, by making yourself familiar with 
the thought of death; and because it is the fear 
of death that makes the thought of it so pain- 
ful, strengthen yourself against the fear of death 
by the motives of Christian hope and the holy 

« r't^ t T""": '^""'^- ^"-y *° y°"^«^If often : 
Behold the Spouse comes. Let us go, my soul " 

Preparation for Death, 


He comes, not to condemn you, but to crown you ; 
expect him with confidence. 

Second Point, — The second exercise of the prepa- 
ration for death is vigilance against death. All 
uncertain as death is, I can act in such a manner 
that it will never surprise me. And how? By 
watching over myself. It is that which made the 
difference between the wise and foolish virgins. 
Here adore the providence of our God, who con- 
ceals from us the hour and the place and the manner 
of our death, to oblige us to be always on our guard 
and to sanctify all our life. To be for one moment 
without this Christian vigilance is to act against 
all the principles of wisdom, because an entire 
eternity is comprised in a single moment. 

We fear death, but let this fear serve us as a de- 
fence against death itself. We do not wait to equip 
a vessel until it is on the high seas, tossed by 
tempest and waves. Let us guard against waiting 
to dispose ourselves for death until the mo;nent 
when our senses shall be disturbed by the approach 
of death, and until we shall have lost their use. 
Jesus does not tell us to prepare ourselves then, but 
"to be ready.'' Let us hold ourselves ready and 
always prepared. And why is the practice of this 
vigilance so necessary ? To keep ourselves always 
in the state we should wish to die ; at least, never 
to be in a state in which we should fear to die. 
According to this rule, if we were asked, " Are you 
ready?" what answer should we give? To do all 
our actions in view of death ; that is to say, to act 


Ash Wednesday, 

Preparation for Death. 


in all things as we would wish to have done, at 
death. To know ourself well is to know our obli- 
gations, all the good which we should practise, all 
the evil we should avoid; to know the dangers 
which .surround us and the means to preserve our- 
selves from them. To have for this examination, 
which is so important, a time marked in the year, in 
the month, in the week; to form these resolutions, 
to rule life after this study ; to weep for the past, 
and to assure the future and constantly take new 
courage — thus it is that our fear shall be the be- 
ginning of wisdom, because it shall serve to excite 
our vigilance. 

Third Point. — The third exercise of the prepara- 
tion for death is the practical science of death. 
There is an apprenticeship to death, and we can 
from life learn to die well, and for that we have 
only to study what passes within us and about us. 
We die every day. No, it is not true, in the sense 
that we die but once. We die every hour, and in 
every hour we can die voluntarily and freely. 
When God declared to the first man that he should 
die as soon as he had disobeyed, the decree was 
executed in Adam at the moment he had violated 
the precept of the Lord. At once he became sub- 
ject to all kinds of infirmities, and his body, de- 
graded from the privilege of innocence, began to 
decay and consequently to die. Now, what took 
place for Adam has taken place for us also, and 
the pagans themselves recognized it. We deceive 
ourselves, said Seneca, in looking upon death as a 

future thing; already, in great part, it has passed 
for us; and all that is past of our life, up to the 
present, belongs to death. Did not St. Paul say 
"he died daily**? If, then, we die every day, is it a 
difficult thing to learn to die? And since at every 
moment we die by necessity, what hinders us from 
accustoming ourselves to die by choice and will? 

All the creatures which surround us teach us 
the science of death. And how? By leaving us, 
by separating from us, by ceasing to belong to us. 
We have only to interrogate ourselves, and all that 
there is in us shall tell us with unanimous voice 
that we must die. You are rich and in opu- 
lence, but you must die. You have credit and 
reputation, but you must die. You are young and 
in a position to taste the delights of the world, but 
you must die. This is the only language we hear, 
because God, in creating us, has engraved in the 
depth of our being this general response, tha| all 
the elements of which we are composed, by de- 
stroying one another, destroy us with them. Since 
everything concurs in teaching us to die, we are 
then very guilty in not being better acquainted and 
more experienced in the art of death. 

O my God, purify my soul, detach my heart, in 
order that, being free from every bond, and living 
only for Thee, I may be ready to quit this earth at 
the first command that Thou shalt give me ! 


T/ie Institution of the Lenten Time. 





"T^HE Church has had two principal reasons in in- 
stituting the holy time of Lent : to make us 
. . . fulfil the duty of penance, and to make us 
meditate on the sufferings of Christ. 

First Point. — The first motive which seems to have 
influenced the Church in the institution of Lent has 
been to afford us an opportunity of fulfilling the law 
of penance. We cannot forget that there is a law 
which obliges all the children of Adam to do pen- 
ance. This law has been proclaimed at the mo- 
ment of the fall, and was again proclaimed by the 
Gospel, and at the time of our regeneration. This 
law is binding on us as men; since we are heirs to 
the sin of Adam, we are also heirs to the sentence 
which has condemned him to suffer. 

This law is binding on us, also, as Christians, since 
it is only by fulfilling it we become like to our Model 
and Master. A great expiation has been consum- 
mated on Golgotha! Christians, children of the 
cros^ fruits conceived amidst the heartrendings 
and agonies of Calvary ; disciples of a God dead on 
the cross ; sons of the King— but of a King crowned 
by sorrow; born to the purple— but the purple of 
His blood,— our life should not belie our origin! 


The sacrifice of the Saviour has been complete in all 
that regards the person and the merits of the Victim ; 
but this sacrifice should continue in His members, 
who with Him form but one and the same mystical 
body. His cross remains forever planted in the 
midst of His Church, to recall to us the obligation 
of attaching ourselves to it and of dying on it with 
Him ; and there shall be something wanting to His 
passion, as St. Paul has understood it, if it is not 
accomplished, also, in our own body; if the blood 
of Jesus does not continue, in some way, to flow in 
the veins of His apostles and martyrs and confes- 
sors, and in all those who believe in Him, until the 
time when the whole Church shall have pavssed from 
the state of suffering and of combat to the posses- 
sion of glory. 

The law of penance is binding on us especially as 
sinners. Let us recall to mind all the transgres- 
sions which make us debtors to Divine Justice — and 
insolvent debtors, too, without any doubt, if God 
had not deigned to accept our feeble satisfactions 
in consideration of the superabundant merits of His 
Son. At this remembrance, does not your con- 
science tell you the necessity of chastising a rebel- 
lious flesh which has been so often the occasion and 
the instrument of your falls? Now, this penance, 
whose indispensable necessity you cannot forget, 
whether to make you " conformable to the image of 
the Son" or to expiate your countless prevarications, 
— do you do it? Alas! — you must admit it — your 
time is always ready, as the Saviour reproached 

< I 


First Sunday of Lent, 

the Jews: I mean the time for your business, your 
pleasures, the time for sin ; but the time of Jesus, 
the time of penance, is never ready or at hand. 
You put it off, and defer it, and expect every day 
that the time shall come ; but the time never comes. 
Now, the Church comes to assist us in our weakness 
and in our cowardice. She strongly reminds you 
of this precept of penance, which your indifference 
neglects. From all the pulpits which are erected 
in the innumerable churches of the Catholic world 
the resounding voice is heard in unmistakable 
terms: " Unless you do penance you shall perish.** 

And, not content with reminding you of this 
great precept, the Church anticipates your inde- 
cision by determining the time when this duty 
will bind with greater rigor, and by indicating the 
most suitable manner of penance ; thus, by a happy 
violence, she forces you, so to speak, to enter the 
way of penance by adding to the authority of God 
her own authority. In fine, that you may not es- 
cape the pursuit of Divine Justice, she, in a way, 
encloses you in a circle of forty days, and she will 
not allow you to depart until you shall have given 
these sacred duties a just satisfaction. Do you love 
your soul enough to understand and second the 
merciful intentions of the Church in your regard? 

Second Point , — By instituting the Lenten time the 
Church wishes to make us meditate on the sufferings 
of Our Saviour. The mortification of the senses is 
not sufficient for salvation — it must be accompanied 
by compunction of heart. Now, what is more ca- 


TJic Institution of the Lenten Time, 


pable of exciting compunction in us than the medi- 
tation of a mystery as tender as it is terrible — -the 
'mystery of our redemption? Unquestionably we 
can obtain this compunction of heart by other con- 
siderations, drawn from the grandeur of God, or 
His justice, or the heinousness of sin ; but the true 
source of tears — tears which flow from the heart as 
well as from the eyes ; those tears which are sweet 
in their bitterness; which have the power to purify 
the soul, to strengthen it, to transform it, to create 
in it the new man, — the true source of such tears is 
in the cross; in the cross which illumines all the 
divine perfections, but in a manner so well arranged 
that His goodness dominates and absorbs all the 
other perfections, and all the rays of this grand 
glory melt away and are effaced in the single ray of 

The cross is by excellence the Christian's book. 
Every one may read it. There, in characters visible 
to every eye and accessible to every intelligence, 
you may learn what is most important for every 
Christian to know. Behold why the Church unfolds 
its blood-stained pages during the holy exercises 
of Lent ! Not only does she wish that we should 
recall the grand mystery of our redemption, but she 
also renders it in a way present and sensible by 
the vivacity and truth of her pictures, as an action 
which had passed under our very eyes. She 
sprinkles her children with ashes, she exchanges 
her vestments of joy which were worn on festival 
occasions, and assumes others of a sombre hue ; she 




First Sunday of Lent. 

sings, it is true, but her chants are from a voice 
broken with sobs and tears ; she seems to fear the 
solitude, for her children are in such great sorrow ; 
She invites them frequently to assemble in commu- 
nity for prayer, for the sacrifice of the Mass, and for 
pious reunions. We could say of her children that 
they are like a family bowed by sorrow, whose mem- 
bers have united to " weep for the loss of an only and 
well-beloved son.'* As the end approaches, the 
representation becomes more striking, and the im- 
pression of the death of the Man-God is more vividly 
felt. The very silence of His tomb seems to reign 
in the temple during the last days of the great and 
Holy Week. The stripped altars and the open and 
empty tabernacles leave nothing to behold except 
the cross unveiled — the cross which the Church only 
adores and only salutes in plaintive chants as our 
one, last, and only hope. 

Allow your heart to go out to, and be touched by, 
these holy impressions if you wish to respond to the 
intentions of the Church. Let your faith lead you 
to assist at each of these terrible scenes of which 
the drama of redemption is composed ; gather with 
love the drops of bloody sweat falling from Jesus 
in the Garden of Olives ; place your lips on each im- 
print of that precious blood which has reddened the 
road to Calvary ; also to each of those sacred wounds 
from which spring the running waters of life eternal. 
Accompany by your sighs and tears, and with the 
daughters of Jerusalem, this new Isaac up to the 
hill-top of Calvary, and do not descend from the 

The Institution of the Lenten Time, 1 1 3 

holy mountain where the greatest of sacrifices has 
been accomplished until you have struck your breast 
with the centurion ; or, rather, do not quit the holy 
mountain, but remain there, crucified with Jesus; 
nail to the cross, not your feet and hands, but your 
sins and defects and desires, for which the Saviour 
has died ; it shall be in vain that He died for your 
sins if you also do not die to them, to arise with 

Him to a new life. 






" A ND lo, a voice out of the cloud saying : This is 
My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased ; 
. . . hear ye Him.'* It is God Himself who com- 
mands us to hear Jesus and obey Him. Be then 
attentive to this salutary voice, and consider in how 
many ways He makes Himself heard. 

First Poifit, — Jesus makes us hear His voice by 
the decisions of the Church, to whom He has con- 
fided, with His teaching, the prerogative of His 
infallibility. He has promised to be with her even 
to the end of time, assuring her that " the gates of 
hell shall not prevail against her.** They would 
prevail if error could creep into her teachings. 
Long before, He had said : " He who hears you, hears 
Me ; he that despises you, despises Me, and in Me 
he despises Him who sent Me.** It was to the 
apostles, and, in their person, to all their successors, 
that Jesus addressed these words. They evidently 
prove that the duty of all the faithful is to hear the 
Church and to obey her. You should therefore 
believe firmly the truths which she teaches, reject 
with indignation the errors she condemns, and re- 
ceive with docility the instructions which she pub- 

Docility in Following the Voice of Jesus, 115 

lishes, and practise with exactitude the precepts 
which she dictates. This submission which you 
owe to the Church imposes on you the obligation 
of rejecting every teaching which does not emanate 
from her, and to reject as deadly poison every 
doctrine which is not presented by her, and to care- 
fully put away whatever heresy insidiously dis- 
tributes as evangelical doctrine, as falsehood and 
error. Stop for a moment and consider in your own 
heart what respect you have shown to the pastors 
of the Church and to your fathers in the faith. In 
what terms do you speak of them? With what 
docility do you hear their teachings ? 

Second Point,— ]qs\is also speaks to you most 
directly by the exhortations of His pastoral minis- 
try. But do you hear Him according to the pre- 
cept which God the Father has given you? Are 
you zealous to hear His salutary instructions ? And 
when you assist at them what spirit do you bring 
to them? Is it a spirit of contention or of obedi- 
ence? What account must you one day render for 
so many means of salvation, either absolutely aban- 
doned by your negligence or made useless by your 
vicious dispositions ? The divine word is tiresome 
for you, and you do not go to hear it; or it is a vain 
and frivolous amusement, and you receive no fruit 
from it. Either you do not hear God*s voice or you 
hear it without proper dispositions ; and by your re- 
fusal to hear it, or by the abuse you make of it, you 
turn against yourself this precious blessing of God. 
Take, therefore, the serious resolution to change 





Second Sunday of Lent, 

this condition, which can only have for you thev 
saddest effects. 

Third Point, — Jesus speaks to you also by the holy 
thoughts which He suggests to you. The natural 
horror which you feel for evil is His voice which 
prompts you to avoid it ; the remorse which disturbs 
your conscience is His voice which calls you to 
penance; the desire you experience to do some 
good work is His voice which encourages you to do 
it ; these pious promptings which move your soul 
are His voice which urges you to love Him. Hence 
the prophet exclaims : " I shall hear what the Lord 
shall deign to say within me!" You also should 
give ear, and listen attentively and continually to 
that voice with which He penetrates your heart. It 
is a sweet voice, and to hear it you must listen and 
with greatest recollection. Alas! how this want of 
recollection has been the occasion of losing so many 
salutary inspirations! How often has God spoken 
to you, now by suggesting a good work, and again 
by turning you away from a bad one ; here recall- 
ing to your mind the precepts of His law, there by 
holding out to you threats or promises; while you, 
carried away by your dissipation, have not heard 
Him? You have despised His gifts, ignored His 
graces, been deaf to His entreaties, and you have 
been punished by the loss of His blessings which 
He offered you. 

Fourth Point. — Jesus employs another language 
more sensible than the preceding, and it is still less 
heard: it is the language of circumstances. All 


Docility in Following the Voice of fesus. 1 1 7 

the events which pass under our eyes are so many 
instructions which God gives us. When He hurls 
His thunders on empires, and overthrows them by 
revolutions,' He reveals to us the instability of all 
things human ; when He casts down from highest 
power those whom He had exalted. He teaches us 
the nothingness of earth's greatness; when He 
strikes down and suddenly removes from earth the 
victims of His justice, he warns us of the certainty 
of death and the uncertainty of the hour in which 
it shall come to us. Examples of virtue teach us 
what we should do, while examples of vice tell us 
what we should avoid. By prosperity He invites 
us to return thanks, by adversity He engages us to 
return to Him. To meet with a poor person is an 
exhortation to almsgiving ; the sight of a church is 
an invitation to prayer, and a single glance at the 
cross is enough to recall every memory of the Pas- 
sion. In the privacy of our homes as well as in 
the public places, in the silence of solitude as well 
as in the dissipation of society, Jesus speaks to us 
everywhere. To-day, in the Gospel, the heavenly 
Father tells us to hear Him. But, oh, how sense- 
less we are! During life, we are surrounded by 
His teachings and do not heed them. We walk 
through life contrary to His warnings. His exhor- 
tations, or His entreaties, without reflecting on 
them or appreciating them. Circumstances strike 
us, but they do not instruct us. We speak of them, 
reason about them, and seek their causes, but never 
calculate their effects. The only thing we do not 



Second Sunday of Lent. 

see in them is what would be most useful for us to 
see, viz., that God has permitted them for our in- 
struction, and to exhort us and to move our hearts. 
Strive, therefore, to recognize the voice of Jesus 
whenever He speaks to you. Your sanctification 
depends on your docility, and, as a consequence, 
your eternal salvation. v 



^HIS sick man, whom the devil rendered dumb, 
^ is the figure of spiritual dumbness, a malady 
. . . of the soul as dangerous as it is common. 
Speech has been given us to pray, to confess our 
sins, and to glorify God. Let us reflect how this 
spiritual dumbness hinders us from fulfilling this 
threefold duty. 

First Point, — The dumb devil hinders us from 
praying. Prayer is the weapon which religion puts 
in the hands of the Christian to make him triumph 
over every obstacle. The effects of prayer are truly 
admirable. It is omnipotent over the heart of 
God, and causes the thunder to fall from His aveng- 
ing hand ; it also opens the treasury of His mercies. 
Prayer is the help of our pilgrimage here on earth 
and gives us the strength to fulfil all our duties, 
consoles us in the trials of life, and obtains for us 
the most complete success in all our enterpriges. 
Prayer is the nourishment of our Christian life, and 
is to the soul what food is for the body. Hence the 
prophet David exclaims : " My heart is dried up and 
my soul is languishing because I have refused the 
bread of prayer." 

Well does the demon know that our sanctification 


Third Sunday of Lent, 

depends on our fidelity to prayer, and hence the 
first object of his efforts is to cause us to neglect it. 
And then what happens? Alas! you know it, per- 
haps, by your own experience. At the time when 
a young man enters society, when the passions are 
developed with violence, when dangers become most 
numerous, he experiences an almost insurmount- 
able distaste for prayer. Hitherto prayer was easy 
for him, the holy exercises of piety were for him 
full of sweetness. But on the day of trial every- 
thing is changed, and he must do violence to him- 
self if he would pour out his soul in prayer. The 
more one yields to this distaste, the greater it be- 
comes; and, in losing her conversation with God, 
the soul has lost every energy for good. 

But how does this change come ? We may desig- 
nate several causes. First, there are the passions. 
By this, we do not mean precisely those violent dis- 
turbances which cast the soul down to the deepest 
depths, but we mean every sentiment which habit- 
ually dissipates the mind and disturbs the heart — a 
too lively preoccupation for even the most legiti- 
mate interests, for study, for our future ; too sensi- 
ble attachments, which win the hearts of creatures 
and draw them away from God. The habit of 
worldly pleasures begets those tastes which are 
wholly mundane, and which quickly take the place 
of things which belong to God. Romantic readings 
give birth to frivolous thoughts. They excite the 
imagination and flatter bad passions. When the 
soul does not strive to resist these siren voices, she 







Jesus Expels the Dumb Devil. 


becomes their slave. She strives in vain to be recol- 
lected with God. Like to a restive horse which re- 
fuses to be directed except in his ordinary ways, so 
the imagination, accustomed to run with a free rein, 
objects to thoughts which are not familiar to her. 
If, therefore, you wish to preserve a spirit of prayer, 
which is indispensable to a Christian life, then keep 
the thought of God in your heart by frequently 
turning to Him ; exercise the greatest vigilance in 
avoiding flights of imagination ; and faithfully re- 
sist whatsoever may degenerate your mind and 
heart. Have you done this hitherto, and are you 
resolved to do so henceforth ? 

Second Point. — The second duty of a Christian is 
to confess his sins. After prayer, there is nothing 
more important to sustain Christian life than fre- 
quent confession. There it is that the soul finds 
strength by virtue of the sacrament; there she 
finds encouragement in the advice of the confes- 
sor ; and there she finds light in the examination of 
conscience. The very thought that you must con- 
fess is a powerful motive to avoid sin, and hence 
the efforts of the demon and his artifices to hinder 
you from this salutary duty. Strange coincidence ! 
The repugnance for confession is felt at the same 
moment as the distaste for prayer. As long as the 
heart is pure and free from all affection to sin, 
confession is a sweet and easy duty; we cheerfully 
and fathfuUy respond to the voice of our confessor. 
As soon as we are guilty, we experience the con- 
trary disposition. And so we are tempted to aban- 


Third Sunday of Lent. 

Jesus Expels the Dumb Devil. 


don confession, and, in fact, we abandon it precisely 
at the moment when it is most necessary. 

The ruses which the demon employs to hinder us 
from this powerful means of perseverance are 
numerous. He presents so many difficulties in the 
way of perseverance! He presents piety under 
such severe views ! He so terrifies us by the com- 
bats we must endure, the victories we must win, 
that we lay down our arms and with tears exclaim, 
I cannot be saved ! We forget that if the human 
heart can do nothing by itself, it is omnipotent 
when sustained by God's grace. Ah, it is only too 
true that by ourselves we cannot remain virtuous. 
Why then do we rely on ourselves? We should 
pray with more fervor and confess our sins more 

Confession is neglected because of the shame at- 
tached to the avowal of sins. It is, indeed, shame- 
ful to do that which is culpable, but it is a brave 
and truly great soul that can confess its guilt. It 
is related that one day while Socrates was walking 
in one of the streets of Athens, he noticed one of 
his disciples departing from a house of question- 
able character. The disciple, confused at having 
been seen by his teacher, endeavored to conceal 
himself. But the philosopher approached him and 
said : " You should have been ashamed to enter that 
place, instead of being ashamed to leave it." More- 
over, shame is an expiation of sin ; if you refuse 
to blush at the feet of Jesus in the tribunal of 
penance, you must blush before Jesus who shall 

be your Judge, and in presence of the assembled 


Third Point.— The third duty of the Christian is 
to defend the cause of God and his neighbors, when 
both have been injured. This is a rigorous duty, 
and one which is never neglected when there is a 
questipn of a father, a friend, or a benefactor. But 
God is more than all that for us. How then can we 
be wanting in our duty when there is question of 
His glory? Whence comes this silence which 
seems to authorize certain impious words ? Whence 
comes the cowardly smile to our lips on hearing 
indecent railleries against religion, its mysteries, 
its ceremonies, its minisjters, pious persons, and 
even against pious practices ? Do we not see that 
by such conduct on our part, by this tacit approba- 
tion given to those who outrage our faith, we per- 
form an act of impiety, we authorize blasphemies, 
and embolden the blasphemers? When on His 
way to Calvary Jesus met a generous woman who, 
braving the soldiers and enemies of the Saviour, 
came to wipe away the blood and the dust which 
disfigured His august face. But, alas! every day 
the religion of Jesus is disfigured, outraged, covered 
with mire, and there is not one soul generous enough 
to take up its defence and avenge the outrage. 

If religion requires us to defend the cause of God, 
charity makes it a duty for us to defend our neigh- 
bor when his reputation is compromised. But even 
when human respect renders us dumb in the first 
case, a secret jealousy or a criminal curiosity ren- 



Third Sunday of Lent, 

ders us dumb in the second. Instead of closing 
our ears to falsehood, we provoke it, we listen to it 
with pleasure, and become responsible for all the 
evil that is spoken and for all the wrong which is 

O my God, make me understand the duties which 
the gift of speech imposes on me. May I never 
use it except for the sanctification of my soul, the 
edification of my neighbor, and to bless Thy holy 



'T'HE goodness with which Jesus multiplies the 
* bread, to meet the needs of the multitude that 
. . . followed Him, is the image of that universal 
providence with which God provides for His creat- 
ures. Let us meditate to-day on the certainty of 
that providence, and our duties towards it. 

First Point, — The certainty of providence. Prov- 
idence is that supreme wisdom of God which guides 
all events; that paternal attention by which He 
preserves the moral and physical order which He 
has established in the world from the first instant 
of creation. We cannot question it for a moment 
if we but reflect on what passes under our eyes 
every day. In fact, what do we see? We see an 
admirable spectacle, of which the prophet gives us 
a description in his sublime canticle: "Lord, my 
God, how magnificent are Thy works. Thou hast 
arranged and governed everything with admirable 
wisdom. The ocean surrounds the earth as one 
vast cincture; it obeys Thy voice, and never over- 
flows the boundaries which Thou hast fixed for it. 
Thou hast opened in the valleys the most abundant 
fountains and springs, to which the animals of the 
field and the wild beasts of the forest come to slake 


Fourth Sunday of Lent. 

their thirst. Thou hast prepared trees on the moun- 
tain tops, in which the birds may build their nests, 
and in the crevices of the rocks Thou hast made 
dwelling-places, in which the hunted stag comes to 
deposit her young in safety. The lions that dwell 
in the deserts and the monsters that live in the 
deepest abysses ask of Thee their prey and Thou 
providest it for them. My Lord and my God, 
how great Thou art in all Thy works. Thou hast 
disposed and governed all things with admirable 

These are the words of a prophet, but hear the 
same idea from another tongue. If God has created, 
He has done it through love, and, moreover. He is 
full of sweetest providence for every being which 
has come from His creative hand. Has He not 
cared for the smallest flowers of the valley, and for 
the sparrows which ask Him for food ? Is it not He 
who clothes the sheep in their woolly fleece? Not 
a hair from your head falls to the ground that does 
not engage His attention. He cares for the flowers 
and the animals; and there is not a little insect 
buzzing in the atmosphere which is not the object 
of His divine attention. If this little worthless 
being has blood and veins, it is God who has formed 
it ; if it finds on its way something to eat and to 
drink, it is God who prepares for it a bed and a 
table. What a loving providence! 

The words of Jesus established the certainty of 
providence in the most formal manner. He says: 
"Behold the birds of the air, for they neither sow, 

On Providence. 


nor do they reap, nor gather into barns, and your 
heavenly Father feedeth them. . . . Consider also 
the lilies of the field, how they grow; they labor 
not, neither do they spin. But I say to you that 
not even Solomon, in all his glory, was arrayed 
as one of these.'* If then, your Father who is in 
heaven takes so much care of a fragile flower, and 
feeds the birds, what care shall He not take of you, 
who are His children and who are of greater value 
to Him than all the animals of the earth? And 
He adds : " Be not solicitous for what you shall eat, 
or wherewith you shall be clothed. Your heavenly 
Father knows you have need of all these things.*' 
These words from the lips of the Saviour should 
suffice to calm all inquietude. 

Besides these words and promises, which attest 
the providence of God there are facts which also 
give us fullest testimony. The brethren of Joseph 
wished to oppose the designs of Providence, and 
everything they did against him served only to 
favor his exaltation. The same Providence which 
had saved Moses from the waters of the Nile makes 
him become the liberator of his people. The same 
Providence which delivered the Chosen People of 
God from the Egyptians, and which conducted 
and miraculously nourished them in the desert, led 
them to the Promised Land and performed for them 
a thousand prodigies. This same Providence it 
was that protected the chaste Susanna, Daniel in 
the lion's den, the young Hebrews in the fiery fur- 
nace, and countless others who are spoken of in the 


Fourth Sunday of Lent, 

history of the Church. It is, then, demonstrated 
by the words of Holy Scripture and by the testi- 
mony of history that there is a Providence. 

Second Point,— Our duties towards Providence. 
The first duty is to submit ourselves to its decrees. 
God has a dominion which is absolute and universal 
over all His creatures ; He is our Master, and we 
are His servants ; He is our King, we are His sub- 
jects ; He is our Father, we are His children ; it is 
therefore just that we should obey Him. This 
obedience is not only most reasonable, but is most 
necessary. In fact. He is the Sovereign Master and 
there is "no one who can resist Him." And we 
must, therefore, accomplish His will in all things 
and always. Hence, whether we wish it or whether 
we do not wish it, it is certain that things happen 
as God has decreed in His supreme wisdom. If 
we understand how to submit ourselves with docility 
to the decrees of His providence, we fulfil our duty, 
and our submission shall have its recompense. But, 
should we revolt or murmur against His provi- 
dence, the will of God shall be accomplished and 
we shall suffer without merit and without consola- 

St. Chrysostom compares those who murmur 
against divine Providence to the tempests on the 
ocean; we see the impetuous elements hurl the 
waves to heaven like so many mountains, but it is 
always useless. They are obliged to obey the 
voice of the Master, and they come to crush their 
pride against the grains of sand on the shores 

On Providence. 


which mark their limit. And so it is with those 
who seek to escape the laws of Providence; they 
strive in vain : the will of God must always be ac- 
complished. Understand these truths, and learn 
to be courageous in all the difficult circumstances 
of life ; submit yourselves generously to the will of 
God, and repeat in the depth of your heart these 
words which fell from divine lips : " May Thy will 
be done on earth, as it is in heaven.*' 

We should abandon ourselves to Providence with 
a sweet confidence. God is our Father, and has all 
the tenderness of a father. And this is not enough ; 
He has for us all the tenderness of a mother. He 
tells us: "Even if a mother should forget her 
child, I shall never forget you." What a sense of 
security these words should give us ! The eye of 
God watches over us, even as the eyes of a mother 
watch over her beloved child. Strive, therefore, 
to develop in your heart the sentiments which St. 
Francis de Sales expresses when he says: "Our 
Lord has taught me to confide in His providence 
from my youth, and, if I were to be born again, I 
would allow myself to be governed, even in the 
smallest matters, by this divine providence, with 
all the simplicity of a child and with a profound 
contempt for all human prudence." Indeed the 
designs of God are impenetrable, but they are 
always sweet and gentle to those who confide in 

Therefore let us permit His providence to guide 
our soul, which is in His keeping, and it will surely 


Fourth Sunday of Lent. 

land us in a haven of safety. Blessed is he who 
confidently trusts in His providence, since God can 
give and God wishes to give us every good and 
perfect gift. On the contrary, unhappy is he who 
places his trust in creatures. They promise every- 
thing but give little, and you must pay dearly for 
the little you receive. This is why we embark on 
the sea of divine Providence without food, without 
oars, without sails or any provision. Let us leave 
everything to the care of our divine Lord, without 
reserve of any kind : His goodness shall abundantly 
provide for everything. 



'T'HE noble assurance with which Jesus defies His 
enemies to accuse Him of sin furnishes us an 
. . . occasion of meditating on the beautiful char- 
acter of the Saviour of men. You shall find in it 
one of the most striking proofs of His divinity. It 
shall be sufficient for us to propose these two ques- 
tions: Is Jesus, as He said, the Son of God? and, is 
His testimony true? 

First Point, — In order to escape from the crush- 
ing proof which follows from the testimony of Jesus 
in favor of His divinity, the infidels pretended that 
Jesus said He was, indeed, the envoy of God, but 
that He never affirmed that He was God. To 
demonstrate the falsity of this assertion, we have 
only to open the Holy Gospels. Jesus there gives 
testimony to His divinity at first in presence of 
His friends and disciples. One day, while speak- 
ing with them, He asked : *' Whom do men say that 
lam?'* The disciples answered: "Some say that 
Thou art John the Baptist, others that Thou art Jere- 
mias, others that Thou art Elias, and others still 
that Thou art one of the prophets. " But Jesus again 
asked: "Whom do you think I am?** Then Peter 
answered : " Thou art Christ, the Son of the living 


Passion Sunday. 

God." Instead of reproving him or correcting 
Peter's statement as a blasphemy, Jesus replied to 
Peter: "Blessed art thon, Simon, son of John, be- 
cause flesh and blood have not revealed this to 
thee, but My Father who is in heaven/* 

In another circumstance, Philip said to Jesus: 
" Lord, show us the Father and that will satisfy us/' 
But Jesus, being indignant at this request, answers 
him : " What ! I am so long with you, and you 
have not known Me, Philip? He who sees Me, also 
sees the Father. How then can you say, show us 
the Father; do you not believe that I am in the 
Father and the Father is in Me?" On another oc- 
casion, always wishing still more to affirm His 
divine affiliation. He said to one of His disciples: 
" God has so loved the world that He has sent His 
only Son, that he who believes in Him shall not bd 
condemned, but he who does not believe in Him 
shall be condemned, because he does not believe in 
the name of the only Son of God." Jesus, there- 
fore, proclaimed Himself as the Son of God, and in 
the strictest sense He claimed that He was in the 
Father and that the Father was in Him ; and that 
to see Him was to see the Father. The testimonj^ 
which Jesus gives of His divinity to His friends and 
to His disciples is evident. 

The testimony which He gives of Himself in 
presence of the people is no less evident and no 
less explicit. The multitudes which surrounded 
Him exclaimed : " How long shall you keep us in 
suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us clearly and 


Testimony which Jesus Gives of Himself. 133 

openly." Jesus answers them : " I speak to you and 
you do not believe Me. The works which I have 
done give testimony of Me. My Father and I are 
one." At this statement, which told everything, 
the Jews gathered stones to throw at Him. And 
Jesus said to them' : " I have shown you the works 
of My Father; for which of these works do you cast 
stones at Me?" The Jews answered: "For none 
of Thy works, but because of Thy blasphemy ; be- 
cause, being only a man, Thou hast made Thyself 
God." The language of Jesus before the people 
had the same signification as the language before 
the disciples: He clearly and unmistakably de- 
clared, " My Father and I are one." 

But Jesus is cited before the council of the an- 
cients, the priests and magistrates of Judea. After 
testimony more or less inconsistent, the high priest 
puts the question squarely ; he arises and addresses 
the accused this solemn adjuration : " I adjure you 
by the living God, to tell us, if you are the Christ, 
the Son of God." And Jesus answered him by 
these two words: "I am." And to confirm His 
avowal He immediately added: " I am He, and you 
shall see the Son of man seated at the right hand 
of the power of God, and coming in the clouds of 
heaven." So that before His friends, before the 
people, and before the magistrates, Jesus proclaimed 
Himself the Son of God, the only Son, the Son equal 
to His Father, one with His Father, and being in 
His Father and His Father in Him. This is the 
testimony which Jesus gives of Himself. And 



Passion Sunday, 

what a testimony! Only to think! a man, a being 
of flesh and blood, who liks before Him not only the 
weakness of life but the weakness of death, — a 
mere man, — and He dares to proclaim Himself a 
God! It is the first time in the history of the 
world that it has ever happened! It is evident 
that a mere man is not capable of such bold false- 

Second Point, — But is the testimony which Jesus 
renders of Himself true? To doubt it, we must 
accept one of these two propositions : either Jesus 
did not believe what He said, or He believed it 
without being what He declared Himself to be. In 
the first supposition, He would be deceitful, since 
He proclaimed Himself for what He was not ; in 
the second supposition he would be insane, since, 
being only a man. He believed Himself a God. In 
both suppositions we are presented with an impos- 

It is impossible to make of Jesus a deceitful man. 
According to the avowal of all, even of those who 
do not believe in Him, Jesus is a good and wise man, 
a man of incomparable character. He has done so 
many wonderful things, such holy things, that even 
His very enemies always pay homage to His works 
and to His person. If the world has seen black and 
impious spirits who have dared to blaspheme 
against His innocence and to confound Him with 
seducers, they have been only some monsters whom 
the whole human race has held in horror, and whose 
names, too odious to every nature, have remained 

Testimony which Jesus Gives of Himself. 135 

buried in the same darkness from which their im- 
piety came. In fact, what man had ever appeared 
with more incontestable characters of innocence 
and sanctity than Jesus the Son of the living God? 
In what man was ever observed so much love for 
virtue, so much sincere contempt for the world, so 
much charity for men, and such indifference for 
all human glory? Follow in detail His conduct 
and manners, and see if there has ever appeared on 
earth a just man more universally exempt from all 
the weaknesses which are inseparable from human- 
ity. The more you observe Him, the more His 
sanctity shines out luminously. His disciples, who 
watch Him closely, are struck by the innocence of 
His life ; while familiarity, which is so dangerous 
even to heroic virtue, serves only to discover, every 
day, new wonders in Him. When He speaks it is 
only the language of heaven, and He responds 
only when His answers may be useful for the salva- 
tion of those who interrogate Him. We never see 
in Him some intervals when the man asserts him- 
self ; but everywhere He appears as the envoy of 
the Most High. His most ordinary actions are ex- 
alted by the sublimity of the dispositions which ac- 
company them ; and never does He appear less a 
divine man than when He eats in the house of a 
Pharisee and when He calls Lazarus back from 
death to life. Jesus, therefore, is not and could 

not be a deceiver. 

But was He demented? This supposition is 
such an absurdity that it is revolting; and in 

t ' ii 



Passion Sunday, 

presence of the sublimity of His doctrines, which 
have won the admiration of every age ; in presence 
of the purity of His moral teaching, which could 
not be equalled in the most beautiful pages that 
ever came from the hands of man ; in presence of 
that wisdom which marked all His works, which 
dictated all His responses, a wisdom which sancti- 
fied all His acts and confounded the perfidy of His 
enemies. No, Jcwsus was not demented. He was 
not guilty of a horrible falsehood. He said He 
was God, and therefore He is God. 

O my adorable Master, I love to recognize Thee 
as the Messias promised to Adam, as the Saviour of 
the world, and as the immortal King of ages. 
Thou art more than a great genius, more than 
Elias, more than a prophet, more than a divine 
man. Thou art the Son of the living God! Do 
not permit that anything in the world should ever 
disturb my faith or take from me Thy love. 





P ALM SUNDAY opens the great week, or, as it is 
called by excellence, the Holy Week. It is so 
. . . called because it is in this week the grandest 
mysteries of our holy religion are accomplished. 
You cannot better enter into the spirit of the 
Church than by meditating each day on one of the 
circumstances of the Passion of our blessed Lord. 
To-day let us enter the cenacle and consider the 
different circumstances associated with the institu- 
tion of the most lovable and the most august of all 
the sacraments. 

The first circumstance which presents itself to 
your meditations is the strange command which 
Jesus gives to His apostles, viz., to prepare a room 
which shall be at once large and beautifully ap- 
pointed. In fact, it is a strange command, since it 
is the first time that the divine Master shows that 
He is particular in the choice of a place which He 
shall honor by His presence. For a palace, He 
chose a stable; for a cradle, He selected a manger; 
for a refuge of His infancy, He is content with the 
house of a poor artisan ; to offer His last sacrifice, 
a wooden cross sufficed. It is only now that He 
does not wish to appear poor. He wishes to sur- 



Palm Sunday. 

round His eucharistic body with honors; and why? 
These surroundings are intended more for us than 
for Him. He wishes to give us a lesson. He 
teaches us that we cannot surround the Blessed Eu- 
charist with too much respect or magnificence. He 
justifies His Church from the reproach of too much 
pomp, which unthinking men would make against 
her, and who would wish to see her offer the holy 
sacrifice under a roof of straw and in vessels of 
wood and potter's clay, while they themselves walk 
on richest tapestry and eat and drink from gold and 
silver vessels. Ah, if gold and silver were ever 
legitimately employed, it is certainly when there is 
question of erecting a throne to the God of the Eu- 
charist and to heighten the splendor of its festivals. 

This has been the mind and conduct of all the 
saints, and of all who have with David loved the 
"beauty of God's house." They have all consid- 
ered it a duty and a joy to contribute to the orna- 
mentation of the place which He has chosen to 
make His dwelling among men. St. Cajetan 
wished that the churches and the altars should be 
decorated with all possible splendor, and, in spite of 
his love for poverty, he sought for the richest orna- 
ments, saying that nothing was too precious for the 
Lord of the world. Are these your sentiments? 

By this command Jesus warns us specially con- 
cerning the interior dispositions which we should 
bring to the reception of the Holy Eucharist. He 
asks that the room in which the institution of the 
Blessed Eucharist takes place should be grand and 

The Cenacle. 


vast ^nd spacious. But that which constitutes the 
grandeur of the heart are the exalted sentiments 
and a complete detachment from earthly things. 
Our souls ascend or descend with the objects which 
preoccupy them. If the soul habitually loves and 
seeks after what is beneath her, the weight of these 
things compel her to descend. There is nothing 
so little or contracted as a soul whose intelligence 
revolves habitually in the narrow circle of purely 
materia^ interests. The ideas are narrow, the 
tastes are low, and the mind is frivolous ; grand and 
serious thoughts are too heavy for such a soul to 
carry. Do you wish to possess a grand and noble 
heart? Then banish from it every earthly affec- 
tion. Jesus can be but ill at ease in a heart which 
is also occupied by creatures. The throne of your 
heart is by far too beautiful to allow some earthly 
idol to possess it ; He only is worthy to occupy it 
who has formed it by His own hands, and then can 
enrich it by His grace from the treasury of His vir- 
tues. When approaching the holy table, offer to 
your King, Jesus, a heart void of all earthly affec- 
tion or whatever is purely human. 

If you would possess a truly great heart, let it 
be filled with a holy confidence. Confidence dilates 
the soul, unfolds all her faculties, and opens them 
to receive the dews of heavenly grace. It is pre- 
cisely to facilitate this unfolding of the soul when 
approaching the holy table, that Jesus veils there 
His majesty under the eucharistic species, and in- 
vites us in words that are full of tenderness : " Come, 


Palm Sunday, 

My well beloved, and eat the bread which I have 
prepared for you, and drink also of the wine; be 
inebriated by the delights of My table. Oh, with 
what ardor I have desired to eat of this pasch with 
you!'* How then can you be wanting in confidence 
when Jesus calls you to Him with so much good- 

Not only does Jesus wish a room vast and spa- 
cious, but also beautifully adorned. If your soul 
should be a dwelling-place worthy of God, she 
should be adorned with many virtues. This is a 
necessary condition for a worthy and fervent com- 
munion. And you know what these virtues should 
be: you should possess a lively faith, which shall 
present to you Jesus, true God and true man, un- 
der the sacred veils which hide Him from your cor- 
poral eyes — even as He was in the crib, when He 
received the adorations of the shepherds and the 
wise men; and even as He is in heaven, where He 
offers to His Father for you the wounds of His sa- 
cred humanity, the scars of which are still evident. 

While approaching the holy table, let your soul 
be filled with an ardent charity. The Eucharist is 
by excellence the sacrament of love. Love begets 
love. When Jesus opens His heart for you with 
unspeakable tenderness, should you close yours to 
Him? What to Him are your protestations, your 
words of devotion, your sterile assurances? It is 
your heart that He desires, and it is your love He 
yearns for. He says to you, with an incomparable 
sweetness: " My son, give Me thy heart." I ask it 

The Cenacle. 



of thee, not as the world asks it, to fill it with trou- 
ble, agitation, and often remorse; but I ask it that I 
may bless it, purify it, and enrich it with My graces. 
"My son, give Me thy heart." What an enemy 
you shall be to yourself if you refuse to give it ! 

To a lively faith and an ardent charity add a pro- 
found humility. Alas, who are you to merit the 
distinguished honor which awaits you at the holy 
table? Moses, while thinking that he was only 
"dust and ashes," was astonished that God should 
hear him ; St. Elizabeth, on seeing the Blessed Vir- 
gin, who had come to visit her, exclaimed: 
" Whence is this to me, that the Mother of my God^ 
should come to me?" The centurion acknowledged 
he was unworthy to receive Jesus in his house. 
But it is in your heart that Jesus is going to de- 
scend; He is about to unite Himself to you, and 
you to Him. Even were you an angel, you could 
not sufficiently merit such a favor. But oh ! how 
far you are from being an angel ! 

These preparatory dispositions for communion 
are indicated to us by a circumstance in which Je- 
sus gives us at once the example and the precepts. 
Before the mysterious repast at which the Blessed 
Eucharist was instituted. He put aside His gar- 
ments, and, after having girded Himself as the ser- 
vants do. He washed the feet of His apostles. 
What a lesson for us who are so jealous of our rank 
and dignity, so particular concerning precedence, 
and so desirous of honor ! The God of heaven and 
earth is on His knees before His apostles, washmg 




Palm Sunday. 

their feet with those hands which can hurl the 
thunders, heal the sick, and lavish blessings. And 
Peter, at the sight of his Master's conduct, is seized 
with a holy indignation. " What ! Lord, Thou wash 
my feet! I shall never permit Thee/' Peter fully 
realized the dignity of his Master, says Bossuet, 
and he only wished to hinder Him because of the 
lowliness of the ministry which He performed ; he 
did not understand that this was, for him, an indis- 
pensable preparation for the Holy Eucharist, and 
that he could not participate in it unless his body 
and his feet also were purified ; that is to say, that 
the least stains, as well as the greatest faults, must 
be wiped away. But scarcely has Jesus declared to 
him that without this preparation he should have 
no part in His kingdom, than he exclaimed with 
greatest fervor: " Ah, Lord, wash not only my feet, 
but my hands and my head. Purify me wholly." 
From this let us learn with what purity we should 
approach the holy table. After having effaced our 
grievous faults, do not neglect those which are ve- 
nial. You have been purified in the sacred waters 
of penance, but we have something yet to do. Be- 
sides those sins which kill the soul, there are others 
which disfigure it, and these also must be effaced. 
Then, before approaching the holy table, repeat 
with St. Peter: " Lord, my God, wash me, my feet, 
my head, my hands, that nothing in me shall be 
displeasing to Thy eyes, that I may be pure and 
without stain, to receive Thee into my heart, God 
of purity!" 



THE Resurrection of Jesus from the tomb is the 
model of that new life which every Christian 
. . . should live who has returned to grace. Let 
us study the sacred characters of the Saviour's Res- 
urrection, and learn on what conditions we also can 
arise with Him. 

First Point, — The Resurrection of Jesus presents 
three principal characters; viz., it is true, it is all 
for God, and it is forever. Such should be the 
qualities of our return to God. Our return to God 
should be sincere. The Resurrection of Jesus is 
not a fiction, but a reality. The proofs of it are: 
His absence from the tomb ; His winding-sheet and 
garments are left behind ; and His apparition to Si- 
mon. Behold by what marks we may recognize if 
our resurrection to grace is sincere. Virtuous men 
and true Christians must be able to say of us what 
the angels said of Jesus, "He is not here.'' You 
may seek for this person in his old habits, in parties 
of pleasure, at the plays, and among the worldly; 
but he is no longer there. " Why do you seek a 
living soul among the dead?" Behold the pledges 
of his conversion — the winding-sheet and the relics 
of his worldliness. Hitherto vanity was evident in 




Easter Sunday, 

his dress, but now modesty and decency are his 
most beautiful ornaments. This change should be 
apparent to every eye. Christians shall rejoice at 
this conversion, because it shall be their most beau- 
tiful eulogy. The worldly will laugh; so much the 
better— their railleries shall be our first atone- 
ment. The second character of the Resurrection 
of Jesus is that it is all for God. Before His death 
Jesus lived in the world, and He lived a huAan 
life. But once that He has arisen. He lives a life 
wholly celestial. He lives for God. His body even 
is spiritualized. It is on the heights of Galilee that 
His apostles must go to find Him. Behold our 
Model. " Even as Jesus has arisen," says the apos- 
tle, "we must also arise to a new life." He adds: 
"When I was a child, I thought as a child, I acted 
as a child; but having become a man, I have 
thought and acted as a man." Let us apply these 
words to ourselves. When we were sinners, 
worldlings, slaves to our passions, we thought and 
acted as sinners and as worldlings; if we have 
truly become Christians, we should act and love 
and think as Christians. 

According to the terms of the theology of St. 
Paul, there are in us two men — the old and the new. 
The old man is concupiscence, self, and pride. 
The new man is grace, Jesus, and faith. Now 
what is it to arise with Christ? It is to live His 
life. And what is it to live the life of Christ? To 
understand it well (for here is all the mystery and 
the foundation of Christian life), we must know that 

The Resurrection. 


life consists especially in two functions of the soul, 
viz. , to think and to love. To live the life of Jesus, 
to live the life of faith, is to think of the world, of 
pleasures, of salvation, ^d of sufferings what Jesus 
thought of them ; to live the *fe of Jesus is to love 
what He loved. But what has He loved? What 
has He thought of the pleasures of the world, of 
riches, and of sufferings? Think of His birth, His 
life and His death, think of His teachings, and then 


The third character of the Resurrection is its du- 
ration. Jesus once arisen dies no more. Never 
again shall we see Him assume His earthly garb or 
re-enter the tomb from which He came ; never shall 
He become a victim to death, even for an instant. 
Hence St. Paul says : " Death has no longer empire 
over Him. " And so our resurrection to grace should 
be constant. No one should behold us resuming' 
our old guilty habits, or falling again into sin. We 
have arisen from our tomb, be careful not to re- 
enter it. St. Paul says: " Know that gr^ce has cru- 
cified in us the old man, that the reign of sin may 
be destroyed, and that we may serve sin no longer." 
What a crime, if, after having returned to God, after 
having tasted the sweetness of His love, we should 
go, as the unclean animal, to our former sinfulness. 
Let us ask of our risen Saviour to keep us far from 
such a misfortune, and that He may bind us so 
strongly to Himself that we shall never be sepa- 
rated from Him. 

Second Point, — The conditions to arise with Jesus. 





Easter Sunday, 


The first condition is to die ; in fact, only the dead 
can arise. Our soul cannot live at once the natural 
life which it has from the old Adam and the super- 
natural life which it must draw from the new 
Adam. These two lives are incompatible in their 
principles and in their effects. The principles of 
one are: nature, passions, pride, the senses; it has 
for its effects: pleasure, love of ease, and fear of 
sufferings. The principles of the supernatural life 
are : grace, faith, the promptings of the Holy Spirit ; 
its effects are: humility, a spirit of sacrifice, and a 
love of suffering. We must, therefore, necessarily 
choose. Hence the maxim in the language of the 
• Christian, so common and so true : " We must die to 
live.'* The vile insect which crawls under the grass 
does not become a beautiful butterfly except by 
leaving its first form and its first life. And so the 
Christian must arise from his ashes ; he must cease 
to be a man and become a Christian. St. Paul says : 
" IJdie every day." This saying is full of consola- 
tion ; it teaches us that spiritual death comes slow- 
ly; it is a daily work to be accomplished. Let us 
labor without relaxation, but let us labor without 

And here let us ask how this spiritual death hap- 
pens. It comes only after the agony. There is no 
death without sorrow. Jesus replied to the disciples, 
who were frightened at the remembrance of His 
Passion : " It is necessary that Christ should suffer, 
and thus enter into His glory.'* It is the necessary 
condition.- And this transformation which is made 

The Resurrection, 


in a Christian man is called mortification. " If any 
one wishes to come after Me"— that is to say, to live 
My life— "let him deny himself, take up his cross 
daily, and follow Me." This is the daily "I die** 
of St. Paul. Mortification, then, is the path which 
leads to death, as death is the path which leads to 
resurrection. And then to suffer, or, rather, to 
wish to suffer. " If any one wishes to come after 
Me.** Do you know why there are so few Christians 
truly worthy of the name? So few who live the 
life of faith? It is because there are so few who 
consent to suffer. What a strange thing! W^ 
wish to live the supernatural life, we wish to arise 
with Christ, but we do not wish mortification ! We 
might just as well wish to die without suffering. 
Let us reform our erroneous ideas and walk after 
Jesus daily. He is laden with His cross. He as- 
cends the hill of Calvary ; He is crucified and He 
dies. We must also ascend the Calvary of humili- 
ation, and embrace the cross, and allow ourselves 
to be crucified with Jesus to merit to arise as He 
did, to live with Him always. 




npHE first time that Jesus met His apostles after 
^ His resurrection He wished them peace, and 
... He repeated this salutation on several occa- 
sions. Let us to-day meditate on the nature and 
excellence of this peace which Jesus announced to 
His apostles, and which He has merited by His 
death— peace with God, peace with our neighbors, 
and peace with ourselves. 

First Point.— ]QsViS has merited for us peace with 
God. This peace is the first and the most impor- 
tant matter. It is the fruit of justice, which is itself 
the fruit of the Saviour's merits. In what a terrible 
war sin has plunged man ! What a fearful enemy 
it has raised against him! It is an angered God, 
pursuing man in His wrath, and preparing for him 
a terrible vengeance. Virtue, on the contrary, 
makes Him our most tender, our most faithful, and 
our most generous Friend . It is the Saviour Himself 
who tells us : " You shall be My friends, if you keep 
My commandments." And what can change this 
sweet union of the soul with her God? the soul 
that has, with her God, but a single wish or will; 
that receives from His hand prosperity with grati- 
tude and adversity with resignation ; that is honored 



Peace which Jesus Brings to the World. 149 

by His gifts in profusion ; that refers to Him her 
glory and offers Him her humiliations; that in 
the midst of joy puts her delight in Him, and in 
the midst of sufferings rejoices at the thought of 
resembling Him and of pleasing Him? The friend- 
'ship of God is the most solid as well as the most 
precious of all blessings ; everything else shall pass 
away, this friendship only shall have no limit. It 
will survive ourselves, and after having been, in 
the journey of life, the support, the consolation, and 
the happiness of virtue, it shall become, in the 
heavenly city, her immense and eternal recom- 
pense. * Strive, therefore, carefully to preserve 
peace with your God by avoiding sin, which can 
alone occasion the loss of His friendship. 

Second Point, — Jesus has given us peace with our 
neighbor. St. James says : " Whence come wars and 
divisions amongst you ? Are they not from your 
passions which war in your members?'* Every- 
thing, in our corrupt nature, is a subject of conten- 
tion : both the desire to acquire and the fear of los- 
ing, envy at another's welfare and jealousy at 
what he possesses, the pleasures tasted at success 
and sorrow experienced at disappointment. The 
goods of earth cannot be possessed by all men, as 
they are too limited ; still all strive for them^ all 
dispute for them, all endeavor to seize them, ^^^leire 
is only one good which is so vast that it may De 
possessed by the whole human race, which the world 
may enjoy without injury to any one, and which, 
far from being an object of contention, may be a 


I to Quasimodo. 

bond of union and sweetest concord. It is God! 
And what should change the harmony which should 
exist between a Christian and his brethren? He 
should wish nothing for himself which he would 
not equally desire for them ; he should give much 
and ask nothing ;* he should never injure and always 
pardon. What hold can discord have on a soul of 

this character? 

It is from the grace of Jesus, as well as from His 
examples, that the Christian soul draws the strength 
to make every sacrifice for peace with his brethren. 
What sacrifice shall he make when he beholds his 
Master and Model so generously sacrifice His honor 
and His reputation? What pardon can the soul re- 
fuse when she hears the sweet Victim of Calvary 
pardon His executioners, pray for them, and excuse 
them? These lessons and these examples were 
still fresh in the minds of the early Christians, and 
were so closely followed that the pagans, struck 
with admiration, exclaimed : " See how these Chris- 
tians love one another!" Oh, blessed days of early 
Christianity ! which have given to the world such a 
spectacle, when the whole society had but a single 
heart and a single soul! Would that this time 
would come again for us! Earth would become 
one peaceful sojourn, it would be the very image 

of heaven. 

Third Point,— ]esus has given us peace with our- 
selves. This peace consists in a twofold submis- 
sion, viz., the submission of the passions to reason, 
and reason to the divine law. Can tranquillity and 

Peace which Jesus Brings to the World, 151 

calm exist in a soul which is disturbed by anger, 
tormented by avarice, inflated by pride, torn by 
envy, or agitated by luxury? You might just as 
well seek for tranquillity in the burning volcano. 
Although we yield to passions, we can never expect 
peace from them. You may suppose that you can 
moderate them, and hope that your reason may 
keep them within limits where they shall be at once 
satisfied and ruled by permitting what is agree- 
able and refusing them what is hurtful. But this 
is pure delusion. Consult only your own experi- 
ence. When has passion said. That is sufficient? 
Whenever has it failed to demand, and, when 
yielded to, did not demand more? You may easily 
turn aside a stream at its source, but once allow it 
to become a torrent and it shall overthrow every 
barrier you may oppose to its destructive ravages. 
And so it is with the passions ; the more liberty they 
receive, the more difficult it becomes to arrest 
them. Reason is not strong enough to restrain 
their terrible bounds when they are unloosed ; then 
it is that every effort must be employed to hinder 
them from unbridled excesses. There is no medium 
for passion : it must be strongly repressed, or it will 
take fullest flight; it must be subdued, or it will 
not obey; the soul must be sovereign master, or it 

will be the slave. 

But where shall reason find arms sufficiently 
poY^erful to subdue such dangerous enemies which 
attack it with all their efforts and with all their 
seductions ? Religion alone can give this strength 





to reason. By her precepts she shows the means to 
tame the passions, and by her graces she gives 
those means. If your reason is perfectly submissive 
to the divine law, your passions will be in com- 
plete subjection to it; if you constantly do God's 
will, the passions shall constantly obey your will ; 
when you obey God, they will obey you; and by 
submitting yourself to the sovereign Master you 
become master of yourself. That is to say, that 
you shall acquire the most beautiful empire that is 
given to man to exercise here on earth — the empire 
of himself ! It is in this sense that we say : " To 
serve God is to reign." Always aspire to this 
spiritual royalty; it shall be your glory here below 
and it shall be your happiness in eternity. 







UR divine Saviour, in the Gospel of to-day, pre- 
sents Himself to us under the image of the 
. . . Good Shepherd. Oh, how pleasing is the pic- 
ture and what confidence it inspires! Let us con- 
sider by what titles Jesus merits the character of 
Good Shepherd, and on what conditions you shall 
merit to be numbered among His faithful flock. 

First PoinL— The titles of Jesus to the character 
of Good Shepherd are : the excess of His love, the 
sacrifice of His life, and the sacrament of His body 
and blood. From all eternity we belonged to God, 
but by the prevarication of our first father we were 
drawn into his misfortune, and we fell into the 
hands of the demon. The Eternal Word, touched 
by compassion for His fold, which was exposed to 
the ravages of the infernal wolf, left the sojourn of 
His glory and came on earth to deliver us. Is it 
necessary to repeat here all that He has done for 
us? The memory of His fatigues and His labors is 
still fresh in our hearts. If He has gone through 
Judea so often, it was to save the lost sheep of the 
house of Israel. If He was seated at the well of 
Jacob, it was to save the poor sheep of Samaria. If 
He associated twelve apostles, it was to go through 


Second Sufiday after Easter, 

all Judea, to bring together His dispersed flock. It 
was the desire to save Magdalen that prompted 
Him to go to the house of Simon the Pharisee. It 
was this same desire which led Him to the house of 
Zacheus, the publican. Now, that which He did 
during His mortal life He still does, although 
seated at the right hand of His Father. By His 
grace, by His priests, by the events which multiply 
his solicitude, He does not cease to conjure and urge 
sinners to return to His sheepfold. His excessive 
love justifies, therefore, the title of Good Shepherd 
which is given to our divine Saviour ; but the sacri- 
fice of His life justifies it still more. 

Jesus Himself has said, " The good shepherd gives 
his life for his flock.** It was necessary for Him to 
die in order to snatch us from the power of the de- 
mon, and shall He hesitate? Shall He permit His 
flock to perish, in order that He may save His own 
life? Have no fear of this. Even if hell shall sug- 
gest the most cruel torments, and the Jews con- 
demn Him to a frightful suffering and a shameful 
death, even if His Father shall seem to abandon 
Him, and pour out His anger on Him, He shall 
resign Himself to all this and shall make every sac- 
rifice. The soldiers wish to bind Him and He 
extends His hands; Pilate commands Him to be 
beaten by scourges, and He yields His body until 
He falls from exhaustion ; He is condemned to die, 
and He willingly walks to the place of immolation, 
carrying on His wounded shoulders the instrument 
of His punishment. The executioners command 


Jesus the Good Shepherd, 


Him to lie down on the cross, and He at once 
obeys. Behold My body, crucify it! Behold My 
veins, draw from them every drop of My blood! 
**The good shepherd gives his life for his flock.'* 
O Jesus, how well Thou hast merited the title of 
Good Shepherd ! how well Thou hast fulfilled the 
obligations of that office ! Do not permit that so 
much suffering should be endured in vain for me. 

But it is not enough that Jesus died for us. His 
ingenious love has done more: it has found the 
secret of surviving death and eternalizing His 
presence and His benefits among us. Ordinary 
shepherds lead their flocks into rich pastures, that 
they may find there the most abundant food. But 
Jesus has left to His flock His own flesh and blood 
which must serve them for food and nourishment. 
Not content with having died for our salvation. He 
wishes to unite Himself to us in such a manner that 
He shall be one with us, His blood shall flow in 
our veins, His flesh shall become our flesh, and His 
Sacred Heart shall beat near to our own. Where 
shall we ever find a love at all comparable to this? 
Oh, then, let us strive to be grateful ! Jesus calls us, 
His love urges us. Let us approach Him with confi- 
dence, and approach the holy table often. The 
greatest injury we can do Him is to despise His 
blessings. He awaits us to give us strength and 
life, and should we remain far from Him we shall 
condemn ourselves to weakness and to death. 

Second Point. — Among the characteristics which 
distinguish the faithful flock Jesus Himself des- 


Second Sunday after Easter, 

ignates three. They are: to know, to hear, and 
to follow the Good Shepherd. To know Jesus is 
all the Christian; it is the happiness of the pres- 
ent and the future life. The Saviour of the world 
has said : " O Father, eternal life consists in knowing 
Thee, and in knowing Him whom Thou hast sent.** 
But who knows Jesus ? Do you know Him ? Have 
you that intelligent and reasonable knowledge of 
His religion and its mysteries which give to faith 
such solidity that it is proof against bad examples 
and impious words? Have you that practical 
knowledge of Jesus which studies His desires and 
conforms to them? Do you know His thoughts, 
that you may adopt them ; His maxims, that you 
may follow them ; or His precepts, that you may ob- 
serve them? Have you that filial knowledge of 
Jesus which produces love, which is penetrated 
by a holy respect in His presence, by profound 
gratitude at the remembrance of His blessings, by 
sincere regret at the sins which have displeased 
Him, and by the firm resolution of sinning no 
more? You say you know Jesus, but do you know 
that He is the source of all beauty, of all amiability, 
of all perfection, and is, consequently, the most 
worthy object of your love ? And if you do know 
Him, then why do you love Him so little? 

The second character of the faithful flock is to 
hear the voice of Jesus. God communicates Him- 
self to us and speaks to us in three ways, viz. : by 
the Holy Scriptures, by His Church, and by con- 
science. Now, are you docile to this triple voice, 


Jesus the Good Shepherd, 


by which the Good Shepherd speaks to your soul? 
Do you know that the Holy Scriptures contain our 
mysteries and the rules of our conduct? Do you 
respect them as the word of God? 

.The voice of the Church is also the voice of Jesus. 
" He that hears you hears Me, and he that despises 
you despises Me." The priests of God*s Church are 
the interpreters of Jesus, and it is in His name they 
speak to you, exhort you, and instruct you. How 
' do you hear them ? What is your esteem for the 

holy word? 

Jesus speaks to you also by the voice of con- 
science. It is through your conscience that He 
shows you the good you should do and the evil you 
should avoid. What fruit do you draw from these 
teachings? When conscience tells you to cease fre- 
quenting such society, not to read such a book, and 
to abstain from such an action, do you hear it? 

Third Point,— The good sheep follow the good 
shepherd, and they follow no other. Do you follow 
Jesus in the way He has traced for you ? He has 
suffered by His cross, by tribulations, by humilia- 
tions. Without doubt, had there been an easier way 
to heaven, He would have followed it. But the 
broad way, sown with flowers, is the way which 
conducts to perdition. Enter, therefore, willingly, 
after your divine Master, in the narrow and difiicult 
way; this conducts surely to life eternal. Ask of 
Him the strength to walk in it with constancy, and 
that you may never depart from it. 




/^UR blessed Saviour has announced to His apos- 
tles, in the Gospel of to-day, that their destiny 
... on this earth is to endure afflictions, but that 
these afflictions shall be changed into joy. We 
shall therefore consider the conditions required 
that the afflictions of the Christian shall become for 
him a subject of joy. 

First Point, — The first condition required to 
change our sufferings to joy is to suffer for the 
faith. Even as Jesus must attain to glory and tri- 
umph by sufferings and humiliations, so also it was 
in the designs of God that the Church could not be 
established, nor could she be developed, except by 
persecutions. If the great ones of the earth had 
extended to the Church their powerful assistance, 
we might believe that her establishment on earth 
was a work purely human, and her existence was 
accounted for in the ordinary way ; but by refusing 
all human aid, in founding His religion in spite 
of armed opposition and the ever active human 
powers, God has clearly declared that religion owed 
her origin and development to Him. 

And it is precisely to show that she owes to Him 
her preservation, also, that God still permits, and 

On Afflictions, 


shall permit to the end of time, His religion to be 
the object of attack from heresy, incredulity, and 
all the passions. If, therefore, you wish to be a 
Christian, if you wish especially to practise your 
duties, you must expect persecutions from the 
world. True, indeed, you have no need to fear 
persecution from the sword ; the modern methods 
on which our civilization prides itself seem to 
shield us from this danger. However, if God pre- 
served you from these fearful trials, if Satan should 
rouse again among you the persecutions which 
disturbed the first days of the Church, then recall 
the virtues which triumphed over them. Children 
of the martyrs, imitate the courage of your fathers, 
and dare as they did to resist even to blood ; do not 
hesitate to follow them even that far, and prefer a 
glorious death to a life dishonored by apostasy. 

Second Point,— K second condition required to 
change our sufferings into joy is that they should 
be the consequence of our fidelity in the service of 
God. In addition to the violent persecution to 
which Christianity is sometimes exposed, the Chris- 
tian is liable to particular tribulations, less terrify- 
ing, unquestionably, but more difficult to endure, 
perhaps, by reason of their continuance. Besides, 
the world in which you live pursues you with its 
contradictions, its railleries, and its seductions. 
You must resist inclinations which attack you from 
within and passions which lead you away. The 
edifice of salvation is not erected as were the ram- 
parts of Jerusalem, by employing one hand to con- 


Third Sunday after Easter, 

On Afflictions, 


struct and the other to defend them. If you have 
entered upon the ways of justice, you have already 
traversed a part of the narrow and painful pathway 
which conducts to heaven ; but do not stop in your 
laborious career, and, after having surmounted the 
greatest obstacles, do not allow yourself to be cast 
down by the difficulties which yet remain to be over- 
come. On the contrary, at the sight of new difficul- 
ties take courage, for these are the very obstacles in 
your way which shall win the recompense. Every 
effort shall merit a new reward for you, and every 
victory shall add another jewel to the crown which 
is prepared for you. 

But if you have hitherto walked in the ways of 
iniquity, your return to God will meet with special 
obstacles in your inveterate habits, in your pas- 
sions, strengthened by long service in sin. Still, be 
not cast down. The difficulties you shall meet 
with shall be the most meritorious part of your 
penance. The more that the practice of virtues 
opposed to your vices shall ct)st the greater shall 
be the benedictions which you shall receive. If the 
sight of the barriers which obstruct tHe path of pen- 
ance for you shall frighten you, then lift up your 
eyes to the hand which guides you and which shall 
help you to surmount them. The most difficult step 
is the first, and in proportion as you advance you 
shall feel the pathway grow smooth under your 

Third Point, — The third condition required to 
change your sufferings into joy is to suffer in a 


spirit of faith. When affiiction falls on you, think 
that it is God who sends it to you, and that you 
must receive it with submission. Reflect that it is 
a law of our nature, then you shall accept it in 
patience; that it is the punishment of sin, and you 
shall receive it with resignation ; that it is a chas- 
tisement, and then you shall accept it \^ith grati- 
tude ; that it is a trial to which Providence subjects 
you and you shall accept it with courage ; that it 
is the crucible in which Divine Goodness purifies 
you to make you more worthy, then you shall ac- 
cept it with joy. 

Jesus has spoken this word, which has ever been 
a subject of astonishment for the worldly and a 
consolation for the Christian: "Blessed are they 
that mourn, for they shall be comforted.** When, 
therefore, afflictions fall on you, think that you 
have one consolation — they come from God. Go 
then, not to your worldly friends — you would but 
weary them without any profit to yourself — but go 
to your divine Consoler; present Him your tears, 
and He will wipe them away; present Him your 
sorrows, and He shall sweeten them and give to 
you the sure hope that every sorrow you experi- 
ence shall be compensated by His graces. 

Fourth Point, — The fourth condition required to 
change sufferings into joy is voluntarily to accept 
them as an expiation for your past offences. We 
cannot hope to enter heaven except by the path- 
way which our divine Saviour Himself has trod. It 
is He who has declared this truth to us, that we 



Third Sunday after Easter, 

must carry the cross. He has wished to suffer, the 
apostle tells us, in order to be not only our Re- 
deemer but our Model. Think of all the saints 
who have gone before you on earth and who have 
preceded you in the blessed country, and you shall 
not find a single one who has been exalted except 
after a life of mortification. All have attained to 
glory through humiliations, to the supreme good 
by self-abnegation, to happiness by sufferings. 
Look about, on every side, and you will not find 
another way. Ask from heaven some precepts 
and ask from earth some examples, but they shall 
have none others to give you. Mortification of the 
body, by retrenching its pleasures, of the soul, by 
a subjugation of the passions, are the true means, 
the absolutely necessary means of sanctification ; 
and, unhappily, we must add, the means but little 
known among men and rarely put in practice. 
Nothing is more common, even among those who 
believe themselves faithful, than a soft and sensual 
life, which is so opposed to the maxims and pre- 
cepts and example of Jesus Christ. Because there 
are few mortifications especially commanded us, 
there are those who believe that mortification is 
commanded only in some general manner, and 
even the few practices of self-denial which the 
laws of the Church make binding on us are not 
observed. We are wont to moderate them rather 
than to observe them. The secret of this so-called 
Christian conduct appears to be to conciliate the 
commands of God with the pleasures and dissipa- 


On Afflictions. 


tions of the world : and we strive to content our- 
selves in the belief that we have conformed to the 
precepts when, although not violating them open- 
ly, we have had the unhappy facility of evading 
them. Never do this, but regard the law of pen- 
ance not as a burden, but as a blessing, since its 
observance shall secure for you your best and most 
sacred interests. 



'T'HE afHiction which the apostles experienced 
at the departure of their Master proves that 
. . . they loved Him with a love which was too hu- 
man. Our blessed Saviour reproached them for this, 
kindly, however, and at the same time He affords 
us an occasion to examine the nature of the love 
which we have for Him. Father Lacordaire says 
that "nothing is more simple than love, and still 
it contains three acts in the unity of its movement, 
viz., preference, devotion, and unity.*' 

First Point, — "Man, however vast his heart may 
be, cannot attach himself to everything with the 
same ardor. Surrounded by objects which, in dif- 
ferent degrees, have the impress of beauty, he shall 
find shades of difference in the attractions which 
hold him. Very often we cannot give a reason for 
our preference ; but what is certain is that we have 
our preferences and that love begins in us at the 
first moment the selection of the object is made." 
At the moment when we make our entrance into the 
life of affections we naturally love those whose age 
or studies or position are similar to our own ; and 
still our heart has already made its preferences. 
Almost without knowing it, a choice is quickly made 

Our Love for Jesus. 


of one who shall be for us more than fellow-student ; 
he shall be our friend, the confidant of our sorrows 
and our joys, our fears and our hopes ; his memory 
shall not be effaced, but shall remain with us dur- 
ing our whole life. 

Later, on our entrance into the world, a thousand 
objects armed with all the attractions which seduce 
and captivate come to knock at- the door of our 
heart and to ask for our preference. Jesus, on 
His part, with His cross in one hand and His Gos- 
pel in the other, calls us by the voice of conscience, 
and by the voice of His priests, by all that He has 
done for us, and by His titles to our love and grati- 
tude. We must make our choice. On this choice 
our earthly future depends and also our eternal des- 
tiny. If the heart of man always inclines towards 
the most worthy object of its choice, our prefer- 
ence shall not be doubtful. What being is more lov- 
able than the Saviour? But, unfortunately, in- 
stead of permitting ourselves to be guided by reason 
and by faith, we allow ourselves to be influenced 
'by the passions, and we choose blindly. Shall you 
be fortunate enough to be proof, against such sad 

Second Point, — ** But love is not satisfied by the 
mere act of choice, it demands devotion from the 
one chosen. To choose is to prefer one before all 
others ; but to be devoted is to prefer the object of 
devotion even to yourself. Devotion is immolation 
of self to the object loved, and whoever does not go 
thus far does not love. We find this condition in 



Fourth Sunday after Easter, 

all the affections in which virtue mingles the divine 
balm of her presence. It is that which inspires the 
mother, bending day and night over the cradle of 
her child ; it is that which fills the heart of the sol- 
dier and prompts him to face death boldly for his 
country; it is that which strengthens the martyr 
against the threats of tyrants and gives him greatest 
solace in all his punishments. These are the traits 
of love which the world, all corrupted as it is, rec- 
ognizes and admires. And if love has not had at 
all times an opportunity to manifest itself by noblest 
sacrifices, it constantly shows, however, by lesser 
sacrifices that it carries within it the germs which 
make it as strong as death, as the Sacred Scriptures 
attest" (Pere Lacordaire). 

Is it thus that you have loved Jesus ? After having 
chosen you to make you His child of predilection. 
He has recalled you to His admirable light. He 
has devoted Himself to you, and as a proof of it 
He vowed Himself to death, and to an ignominy 
more frightful than death, to redeem your soul and 
to open heaven for you. Hence St. Paul says: 
" Jesus has loved me. He has delivered Himself up 
for me.'* And thus it is that all the saints have 
loved, by responding to His devotion with their own 
devotion. Listen to St. Paul: "What shall sepa- 
rate us from the charity of Christ ? Shall it be tribu- 
lation, sufferings, hunger, or thirst? Shall it be 
danger, persecution, or the sword? But we are 
stronger than all these fears, for the sake of Him 
who has loved us. Yes, I am certain that neither 


Our Love for fesus. 


life nor death, neither angels nor principalities, 
neither the present nor the future, neither strength, 
nor height, nor depth, nor any creature, can sepa- 
rate us from the charity of God, which is in Christ 
Our Lord." Behold what St. Paul thought and 
spoke, and what all the saints thought and spoke 
as well as he. Can you hurl the same defiance 
to every creature ? Consult your own heart, and 

then answer. 

Third Point.—'' There still remains the third act 
which crowns the marvellous drama, and in which 
our soul is at once the theatre and the actress. 
After we have chosen the object of our preference, 
and after we have given ourselves in fullest devo- 
tion, there still remains something to be done" 
(Pfere Lacordaire). 

Union is necessary. This is the end and the 
limit of love in the heart of God and in the heart of 
the Christian. ■ Not content with having chosen us 
as His well-beloved creature, with having given us 
grace, life, heaven, and happiness by the complete 
sacrifice of Himself, Jesus has wished to unite Him- 
self to us in the closest manner. And what has He 
done to accomplish this ? O marvellous love of a 
God for His creature ! He began by uniting Him- 
self to our miserable nature; He became man, as 
one of us ; He lived our life ; He has wished to dwell 
with us, and to find His delights in remaining with 
us. But this sojourn was necessarily transitory; 
this union of the Word in the Incarnation was 
His union with human nature in general. The 


Fourth Sunday after Easter, 

heart of Jesus wished more, and He has done more. 
He has instituted the Holy Eucharist, and thereby 
has found the secret of eternalizing His presence 
among men, whom He has loved so much. He has 
wished to give Himself and to unite Himself to each 
one in particular. What love ! Can you ever be 
sufficiently grateful? 

If you love Jesus truly, it is not enough to have 
chosen Him for your Friend and your King ; it is 
not enough to be prepared for entire devotion and 
even to immolate yourself for Him. You should 
earnestly aspire to be united to Him. This union, 
the object of delight to the heart that loves, consists 
in the complete fusion of your heart with the Sacred 
Heart of Jesus, by the same thoughts, the same de- 
sires, and the same wishes. You should regard the 
things of the world — its pleasures, its honors — as 
He regarded them. It is necessary that you should 
love and desire what He has desired and loved. 
What union could ever exist between two hearts 
whose sentiments and affections were quite con- 
trary ? But because it is in the Holy Eucharist that 
the union with Jesus is closest and most intimate, 
it is necessary that you should be most anxious to 
be nourished by it. Indifference for this sacrament 
would testify your want of love. How, can you 
think that you love Jesus, when you have so little 
desire to be united to Him? 

Adorable Master, Thou hast chosen me for Thy 
child when I was so unworthy ; Thou hast devoted 
Thyself to my salvation in spite of the abuse I have 

Our Love for Jesus. 



made of Thy grace. Thou desirest to be united to 
me, to lift me up to Thee. I wish also to take 
Thee for my only inheritance, to sacrifice myself 
for Thee, and to remain faithful to Thee; and, by 
uniting myself often with Thee in the sacrament of 
Thy love, may I merit to be eternally united with 
Thee in the Kingdom of Thy glory. 

' H 



npHE reproach ^hich Jesus makes to His disciples, 
in the Gospel of to-day, for not having prayed 
. . . in His name, must reveal to us the reason that 
the prayers of so many Christians, and yours in 
particular, are fruitless. The reason is, they do not 
pray, and you do not pray, in the name of Jesus. 
Strive, therefore, to understand how you should 
pray, and to pray in the name of the adorable Mas- 

First Point, — To pray in the name of Jesus is to 
pray in virtue of His merits and in union with Him. 
We are, after all, only sinful men, and we only merit 
the anger of Heaven ; so that when God deigns to 
hear us it is not through any merit of ours, but it 
is solely in consideration of Jesus His Son. He is 
the powerful Mediator between God and man, He 
is the eternal Intercessor before His Father, He 
constantly offers our prayers to Him, and thus 
secures for them a favorable acceptance. Nothing 
is agreeable to God except what comes to Him 
through His divine vSon. When our prayers are 
presented by Him, when they are united and, as 
it were, incorporated with His, they then become, 
in a manner, divine prayers. It is not we, properly 

On Prayer, 



speaking, whom God hears, but Jesus who prays 
for us and with us, and hence the efficacy of prayer 
offered in His name. God, who owes us nothing, 
can refuse nothing to His Son. 

And so at every instant "the benefits of redemp- 
tion are applied to each of our actions. Jesus on 
earth was our Redeemer ; in heaven He is our In- 
tercessor, and, on His heavenly throne He con- 
summates the grand work which He began on the 
cross. He has not ceased to shed His blood for us, 
except to offer it continually in our behalf. This 
teaching, which is at once consoling and encourag- 
ing, shows us our blessed Saviour standing between 
His Father and us; in one hand He offers Him our 
prayers and in the other He brings us His graces. 
He is all-powerful before God because of His merits, 
and over our hearts, to make us acquire them. The 
apostles did not yet know this consoling dogma 
of the mediatorship of Jesus. Hitherto they had 
prayed, as all the other Jews had prayed, in their 
faith in the Messias. By commanding them to 
pray, henceforth, in His name, the divine Master 
began to reveal to them His character of Mediator. 
But you, who know this truth so well, approach your 
heavenly Father; clothed by the merits of your 
Saviour, pray in His name, being fully assured that 
you shall be heard. The promise of Jesus is most 
formal : " Everything that you shall ask the Father 
in My name shall be given you." 

Second Point, — To pray in the name of Jesus is 
to ask what He wishes we should ask. As there are 


Fiftli Sunday after Easter. 


two kinds of ^oods, spiritual and temporal, there 
are also two kinds of legitimate objects which we 
may request, but the rules of prayer are not the 
same for both. Certainly we are not forbidden to 
ask God for temporal goods. In the prayer which 
Jesus Himself has dictated to us He makes us ask 
for our daily bread, and the Church, enlightened by 
His spirit, implores fruitfulness for the earth, regu- 
larity of the seasons, the health of the atmosphere, 
the prosperity of States, and universal peace. Let 
us also ask, with her, all these blessings, but let us 
ask them as she does. We should observe in our 
prayers the order the Church follows and the end 
she proposes. 

The order which the Church follows is according 
to the precept of her divine Founder. She begins 
her prayer by asking for the kingdom of God and 
His justice; her petitions for earthly things are 
only secondary. 

The end which the Church proposes in her prayers. 
She does not ask the goods of the present life, ex- 
cept in so far as they may be conducive to salva- 
tion. These are the only prayers in the temporal 
order which may be made in the name of Jesus. 
The mission of our divine Saviour, His labors. His 
sufferings, and His pains were only for our sanctifi- 
cation. It would, then, be a gross error to think of 
applying to objects which are foreign to salvation 
those merits of Jesus which have only our salvation 
for their object and aim. 

As for prayers in the spiritual order, they can 

On Prayer. 


be general or particular. We may ask in general 
for our salvation and the graces which shall be con- 
ducive for it, or we may solicit a special and distinct 
grace. The first kind of prayer is at all times and 
under every circumstance assured of its effect. The 
promise of Jesus applies to it in all its extent and 
without restriction or reserve of any kind. God 
wishes our salvation as much and more than we do ; 
so that when we ask of Him, in the name of Jesus, 
that which enables us to gain our salvation we are 
certain to obtain it. Sometimes the request of a 
special grace, as the conversion of a parent, the 
reformation of a defect, is not heard; it is because 
God knows best what is advantageous for us. That 
which we desire as our greatest good may be perhaps 
opposed to a greater good, of which we are ignorant, 
or may be prejudicial to us in a way we do not per- 
ceive. Again, it is the infinite goodness of God 
which refuses us. In vain did the great St. Paul 
ask of God three times to be delivered from the 
angel of Satan, who tormented him. This trial was 
useful for him, since the magnificent revelations 
with which he was favored were not occasions of 
pride and destruction for him. God Himself as- 
sured him that His grace was sufficient, and that 
his virtue should be perfected by temptations. 

Third Point. — To pray in the name of Jesus is 
to ask as He wishes us to ask, viz., with purity 
of heart, humility, confidence, perseverance, and 

Prayer should come from a heart which is pure 

I ! 


Fifth Sunday after Easter. 

and exempt from sin. The sinner has lost all the 
rights which the merits of Jesus had acquired for 
him to the grace of salvation. One prayer only can 
serve him, and it is the prayer of penance; there 
remains but one grace to implore, arid that is par- 
don. Every other shall be useless for him and 
shall be refused. If, then, you have had the mis- 
fortune to sin, beg before everything, by your most 
ardent supplications, the grace of your pardon, and 
that only shall render you worthy to receive other 

The second condition of prayer is humility. ** The 
prayer of the humble man shall penetrate the 
clouds." The impious Achab at last humbled 
himself before God, and by this act alone he ob- 
tained that the thunders of the heavenly anger, 
already suspended above his head, should be turned 
away. Is it possible for us to have an idea of 
prayer and be ignorant of this fundamental rule ? 
Why, arrogance in prayer is not only a vice — it is 
contradiction, it is a madness! Would some great 
one of the earth receive a request which should be 
asked with pride? The very need which leads us 
to the feet of the King of kings should make us 
also feel our dependence on Him. 

Confidence is the third condition of prayer. A 
man would feel injured if you should doubt his 
word. Your doubts are then an outrage against 
God. And of what are you uncertain? Is it of His 
fidelity, or is it of His power? Put no limit to your 
hopes; He has placed none to His engagements. 

On Prayer. 


You will never please Him by reserved or timid 
requests. Fearlessly ask the most excellent gifts. 
If it is a virtue you need, ask that it be perfect; if 
it is a victory, ask that it may be complete ; if it is 
the pardon of your sins, then ask for the entire re- 
mission of them. Divine munificence is the con- 
trary of human liberality: the more you ask, the 
more you have a right to obtain. 

The fourth quality of prayer is perseverance. 
Jesus promises that prayer made in His name shall 
be heard, but He has not designated the time. He 
engages Himself to grant every request, but not as 
soon as you have formulated your demands. Often, 
on the contrary. He seems not to hear you, but this 
is precisely to test your faith, your patience, your 
humility, and your fervor. And, after all, are not 
the graces of God sufficiently precious and worthy 
of being asked for long and often ? 

Attention is the fifth condition of pfayer. With- 
out attention there can be no prayer. The most 
necessary act of religion cannot be a purely exte- 
rior practice. Can we, in good faith, persuade our- 
selves that we love God,- and implore Him, and 
return Him thanks, and yet without thinking of 
Him? That which essentially constitutes prayer, 
the prayer which God hears, is not a mere sound 
which comes from the mouth and is lost in the air, 
but it is the sentiment of the heart which arises to 
Him. Let us reflect on these different conditions of 
prayer, and see if we have hitherto prayed in the 
name of Jesus. 



^O appreciate fully how great is the love which 
Jesus manifests for us in promising us the 
. . . Holy Ghost, it is necessary to know what is the 
ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Church and in 
the hearts of the faithful. 

First Point, — The ministry of the Holy Spirit in 
the Church. Our divine Saviour attributes to Him 
three principal functions. He is the Consoler, and 
the Church calls Him "the best Consoler." Never 
has any one merited this title more than He. There 
is not among men a single one who has not fallen 
into misfortune. Where shall man turn for con- 
solation? His very friends fly from him, even as 
the birds of passage depart at the approach of 
winter. If some should strive to console him, they 
can only exhort him to patience and speak of the 
necessity of suffering. This necessity is incon- 
testible, without doubt, but it is truly disheartening 
when suffering is separated from religion ; for then 
sufferings have neither principle, nor end, nor rec- 
ompense. But, on the contrary, we find greatest 
consolation in suffering when it is viewed in the 
light of the Holy Spirit. And how does this hap- 
pen ? Because the Holy Spirit reveals to the unf or- 

'' --^ ^- -' 

The Holy Ghost, 


tunate sufferers that the true cause of sorrow is in 
the sins which have been committed ; because He 
makes sufferings glorious, since they give to him 
who suffers a trait of resemblance to Jesus; because 
sufferings may become a means of expiation for sin 
and, consequently, a means of attaining the happi- 
ness of heaven. It is the special office of the Holy 
Spirit toaccord us these sublime consolations, and 
He only has the power to make us taste them. 

The Holy Spirit is called by Jesus the Spirit of 
Truth. He merits this title because it is He who is 
the Author of all truth ; it is He who propagates and 
spreads it ; it is He who convinces the intelligence 
of man and makes him receive it. The law of 
Moses clearly pointed out the duty, but it did not 
afford strength to put this duty in practice. The 
world proclaims the eulogy of virtue, but this sterile 
admiration gives no aid to the heart, which is left 
to its own weakness. It belongs to the Holy Spirit 
only to reveal to us all truth, and to render it lov- 
able and .easy for us. See the apostles; think of 
their ignorance with regard to the mystery of the 
cross. It was for them an " unintelligible word, " but 
hardly had they received the Holy Spirit than they 
understood the happiness of sufferings. They con- 
sidered themselves happy to have endured ignominy 
for the name of Jesus. Had not Jesus already said : 
" Blessed are they who suffer persecutions for jus- 
tice's sake*' ? These were new sentiments, which had 
hitherto been unknown. This truth was too deep 
for the apostles — '* You cannot bear it now.'* The 


Sixth Sunday after Easter. 

Holy Spirit was necessary. It was His mission to 
enlighten their intelligence, and to make them taste 
the maxims which take away all the repugnances 
of nature. 

The same ignorance still exists. Carnal minds 
revolt at the obscurity of our mysteries; sinners 
do not see the abyss open at their feet ; even many 
pious people do not understand Christian life. 
They all need the light of the Holy Spirit. If you 
wish to receive Him, correct in yourself every dis- 
position which would render you unworthy of His 
holy communications. 

The Holy Spirit must give testimony to Jesus. 
He gives this testimony in a most splendid manner, 
in manifesting His divinity by countless prodigies. 
On the very day when the Holy Spirit descended 
on the apostles they were transformed into other 
men. St. Peter preached his Master and his God 
before multitudes of different peoples whom the 
solemnity of the day had assembled at Jerusalem, 
and all heard him speak in their own native tongue. 
The most splendid miracles attest the divine mis- 
sion of the apostles and the divinity of Him who 
sent them. These poor "fishermen, without the 
study of human sciences, without credit, without 
the art of eloquence, undertook the conversion of 
the world ; and in spite of prejudices and persecu- 
tions, in spite of obstacles humanly insurmount- 
able, the greatest success crowned their efforts. 
Legions of virgins triumphed over the corruption 
of the pagan world by their purity ; millions of 

The Holy Ghost, 


martyrs died in testimony of the divinity of the 
Christian faith. In spite of all the efforts of the 
mighty ones, all the resources of genius, all the 
artifices of sophistry, all the revolts of passion, the 
Church was established and developed, and con- 
tinned her triumphant march along the ages. Be- 
hold how the Holy Spirit has rendered, and still 
renders, testimony to Jesus, the Saviour of the 

Second Point,— ThQ ministry of the Holy Spirit in 
the hearts of the faithful. He exercises three prin- 
cipal functions in us: He brings us forth to Chris- 
tian life, He sanctifies us, and He gives us the 
pledge of our divine affiliation. He brings us forth 
to Christian life. At the beginning, God the Father 
called the world from nothingness ; on the cross, the 
Incarnate Word reformed man by His blood ; in the 
Church, the Holy Spirit creates this supernatural 
life, which absorbs in the Christian all that there 
is there of the old Adam, even to his name of man, 
and makes of him a creature wholly new. The 
Church proclaims these admirable effects of the 
Holy Spirit by her enthusiastic chants: "Come, 
Spirit Creator — send Thy Holy Spirit and renew the 
face of the earth.'* But where is this new creation 
wrought? At first in Baptism, and then, if we 
should lose this precious life, in the Sacrament of 
Penance, when the Holy Spirit returns it to us by 
His grace. 

The Holy Spirit sanctifies us. He is the love 
which unites the Father and the Son ; He personi- 


Sixth Sunday after Easter. 

fies, in a manner, the love of God for ns. He it is 
who is the Source of all graces, or, rather, He is 
grace itself. In the same manner as the just man 
who rejoices in grace is the living temple of the 
Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit dwells in him as a lov- 
able guest — dulcis hospes animce. It is from Him 
good inspirations come which prompt us to good 
works, and those holy inspirations which keep us 
from evil. It is His strength which sustains us in 
combats, and His light which removes our doubts. 
It is His charity which encourages the Christian to 
practise the most heroic virtues, and it is by Him 
that the just attain the most sublime perfection. 
The sanctification of man is attributed to the Holy 
Spirit particularly, as the creation is attributed to 
the Father, and the redemption to the Son. And 
thus it is that the august Trinity is wholly engaged 
in procuring our happiness. 

The Holy Spirit gives us a pledge of our divine 
affiliation. This is the very teaching of St. Paul. 
Listen to his admirable words, and then you can 
comprehend the nobility which your vocation to 
the faith gives you. He writes to the faithful at 
Ephesus: "You have been marked by the Holy 
Spirit, who is the seal of the promise and the pledge 
of the heavenly inheritance. Never forget that you 
are the temples of God and that the Holy Spirit 
dwells in you'' (Acts). And read what he writes 
to the Romans : " You have not received the spirit 
of bondage again in fear, but you have received the 
spirit of adoption of sons, whereby we cry, My 

The Holy Ghost. 


Father. For the Spirit Himself gives testimony to 
our spirit, that we are the sons of God.*' And if we 
are sons, we are also heirs, yes, heirs of God and 
co-heirs of Jesus. See, therefore, what magnificent 
destinies await us. Pray to the Holy Spirit that He 
may render you worthy, not only to see Him, but to 
realize Him fully. 




CORTY days after His resurrection, Jesus gath- 
ered His disciples together. St. Paul assures us 
. . . that they numbered fully five hundred. Then 
Jesus led them to the mountain of Olives, and after 
blessing them He disappeared from them, rising 
majestically to heaven. If we seek to know why 
Jesus returned to Heaven, we shall find He re- 
turned for Himself and for us. 

First Point, — It is for Himself and for His own 
glory that Jesus triumphantly ascended to heaven. 
Bossuet says: "As a prince who has on hand a 
great war against a foreign nation quits his king- 
dom for a time to go forth and combat his enemies 
in their own country, and when the expedition shall 
have ended he shall return with superb display into 
the capital city of his own country, his followers 
and his chariots adorned by the spoils from the con- 
quered people; so the Son of God, our King, wish- 
ing to overthrow the reign of the demon who by an 
insolent usurpation was boldly declared the prince 
of the world, has Himself descended from heaven to 
earth to conquer this irreconcilable enemy. Hav- 
ing deposed him from his throne by arms of the 
weakest kind were they in other hands than His, 

On the Mystery, 


there was nothing else to do than to return trium- 
phantly to heaven, which is the place of His origin 
and the principal seat of His royalty. '* It^'is, then, 
Jesus marching royally to the throne of His glory 
whom you are now considering. What a grand and 
magnificent spectacle! How different He is on 
this day, the high and powerful Lord, from what 
you have hitherto seen Him? His departure from 
the earth is very different from His entrance into 
the world. Then He manifested Himself in His in- 
firmity ; He was little ; He was born as the children 
of men are born ; He, the King of heaven and earth, 
descended into a stable. We see Him weak, and 
His mother Mary carrying Him in her arms ; He 
was subject to the needs of our body, and experi- 
enced hunger, thirst, fatigue, and sufferings. He 
was a man — not the primitive man, ruling the earth, 
happy, immortal; but, apart from sin, a man like 
to fallen man : that is to say, a man of sorrows, de- 
spised, beaten, outraged; a mortal man obliged to 
submit to an ignominious death, the death of the 
cross. Many of those who saw Him in that degra- 
dation did not know Him. Jerusalem remained 
indifferent when the Wise Men came to speak to 
Him ; Samaria closed her gates against Him ; Naza- 
reth wished to cast Him from the high hills on 
which she was built, and the doctors of the law 
laughed at Him when He answered them. The 
Pharisees calumniated Him, the synagogues ex- 
pelled Him, and the whole people cried out, 
"Crucify Him!'* But to-day Jesus avenges His 




TAe Ascension, 

sacred humanity on all their degradations, all 
their outrages, and He manifests Himself glori- 
ous and triumphant in the eyes of the whole uni- 

The cross of Jesus has ceased to be a scandal for 
the Jews. They wished for a glorious Messias. 
Is He, then, without glory — He who conquered 
death, and, having accomplished His mission on 
earth, returns to heaven in magnificence? He is 
more splendid than Solomon in all his glory, 
stronger than David in battles, more beautiful than 
Absalom in the flower of his youth, more holy than 
Enoch and Elias, who were taken up from earth. His 
body, which had been placed and sealed in a sepul- 
chre, had undergone a glorious transformation; 
His face shone as the sun; His vestments were 
white as snow; His reed sceptre is changed to a 
sceptre of command; His crown of thorns is re- 
placed by an aureola of light ; at His feet are His 
disciples, and above His head legions of angels are 
descending : the earth is silent before Him, and the 
elements await His command ; a docile cloud lowers 
about His feet, and He ascends — ascends into the 
heavens, leaving Judea, Bethlehem, Nazareth, and 
Calvary, and to take in exchange possession of the 
heavenly Jerusalem, the city of Sion, the kingdom 
of His Father! Arise, then, Lord, above the 
heavens, and let Thy glory shine throughout the 
whole earth. As for nie. Lord Jesus, my King and 
my Master, I am proud of my name of Christian ; 
on this day, especially, when Thou coverest all the 


On the Mystery, 


humiliations of man with the strength and the 
omnipotence of God. 

Second Point, — Jesus returns to heaven in our in- 
terest. It is, first, to prepare a place for us. The 
gates of heaven had been closed by the sin of 
Adam and no one could enter there, before the 
divine Mediator. Even the just of the Old Law, the 
Abels, the Abrahams, and the Jacobs, these men so 
famous in our sacred books for the splendor of their 
virtues and their lively faith, awaited in Limbo for 
the day of their deliverance ; and it is to-day that 
they enter heaven with Jesus. Henceforth the 
gates of the Holy City are open to us: let im- 
mortal thanks be given to our blessed Saviour! 
He has marked out the way for us by His les- 
sons, by His precepts, and by His examples 
while He lived on earth; to-day He has thrown 
the gates wide open for us. He is there our 
Precursor. From His sojourn of glory, He ex- 
tends His hands to us and calls us to Him. He 
said to His apostles : " I go to prepare a place for 
you.'* But this place shall not be for us, except 
we merit it. 

Jesus ascends to heaven, and there occupies a 
throne at the right hand of His Father, to serve us 
as Advocate and Intercessor before God. And so 
He quits the earth, but does not abandon us. In 
the sojourn of His glory He loves us still, and His 
blood pleads for us. As the always-living Mediator, 
He intercedes in our behalf. It is through Him we 
have access to the heavenly Father. By His prayers 


The Ascension, 

He gives to our prayers a value ; by His thanks- 
giving, our gratitude is acceptable; by His obla- 
tions, our sacrifices are made worthy; by His 
sorrows, our penance is valuable ; by His sufferings, 
our mortifications are efficacious ; and by His expia- 
tions, our satisfaction is complete. It is in union 
with His merits that our feeble works become 
meritorious. The eternal Mediator between God 
and man continues in heaven the ministry which 
He exercised on the cross. It is He who has 
prompted St. John to say: "Be consoled, my 
children, and do not despair; if you have sinned, 
remember that you have in heaven an Advocate, 
who is all-powerful and who shall plead your cause 
before God." 

Jesus has ascended to heaven to send us the Holy 
Ghost, whose mission it shall be to complete the 
work of redemption. The effusion of the Holy 
Spirit on earth, His visible descent on the 
apostles, are the recompense of the Passion of 
Jesus on the cross. He could not be given, 
therefore, until the Sovereign Priest had con- 
summated His sacrifice in heaven. "For as yet 
the Spirit was not given, because Jesus was not 
yet given" (John vii.). Moreover, Jesus had 
formally declared that, "if I do not go, the Holy 
Spirit shall not come, but if I go, I shall send 
Him to you." 

O my amiable Master, since Thy entrance into 
heaven must have such precious results, then quit 
this earth : enter heaven to fulfil there the ministry 

On the Mystery. 


of Mediator; appease divine justice, which I have 
so often angered by my crimes, and grant me the 
grace of imitating Thee on earth, that I may pos- 
sess Thee and contemplate Thee eternally in 

* •-"^~ -^ i, i r^-^al i 'n'-^It 




TpO-DAY the Church commemorates the descent 
of the Holy Ghost on the apostles. There can 
... be nothing more interesting for us to know 
than the dispositions which are required to receive 
Him and the effects which He produces in those who 
receive Him. 

First Point, — Dispositions required to receive the 
Holy Spirit. The first is recollection. The Holy 
Spirit Himself tells us that He leads into solitude 
the soul with whom He wishes to speak. God can- 
not communicate Himself to a disturbed or agitated 
soul. The apostles were in retreat when the Holy 
Spirit descended upon them. And hence we con- 
clude that everything which disturbs the soul pre- 
occupies the heart, and consequently is an obstacle 
to the communica.tions of the Holy Spirit and to the 
support and strength of the Christian life. The 
reading of romances, the frequentation of worldly 
assemblies, a love for plays are, therefore, incom- 
patible with a spirit of piety. And it is for this 
reason that Jesus in His Gospel condemns all 
these diversions. The world is astounded at this 
reprobation, and accuses the Gospel of too great 
severity. Perhaps you yourself have thought and 

On the Mystery, 



spoken as the world of this matter; but think of 
the levity and injustice of this language, in com- 
paring the disturbance produced by romances, balls, 
and spectacles with the recollection required for 
the holy and sweet communications of the Divine 


Vigilance is the second disposition required to re- 
ceive the Holy Spirit. When the days of Pentecost 
were accomplished, says the Sacred Text, " a sound 
from heaven was heard, as of a mighty wind com- 
ing.'* It is in a sudden and unlooked-for way that 
grace knocks at the door of our heart, and that the 
Holy Spirit communicates Himself to a soul. He 
does not consult our time, but we should await His 
time of coming. St. Paul was wSuddenly stricken to 
the earth while on his way to Damascus. It was sud- 
denly that the mysterious star appeared to the Wise 
Men. We should, therefore, be attentive to the 
movements . of the Holy Spirit ; want of vigilance 
would cause us to lose a multitude of graces which 
would sanctify us. 

It is this want of vigilance in studying the secret 
movements of grace that each day permits us to 
miss a thousand happy occasions of performing acts 
of virtue; our resolutions remain sterile, and our 
most sacred promises are never realized. But do 
we not make them in good faith ? Unquestionably 
our desire is sincere, but it is inefficacious because 
we forget them at the moment when we should 
keep them. If we are exposed to humiliation, this 
would be an occasion for us to make an act of 



humility. If an injury be done us, this would offer 
an opportunity for making an act of love. Perhaps 
we may meet with a disappointment, some opposi- 
tion, or some suffering; this should be the moment 
for making an act of patience. Unfortunately, 
natural impressions precede reflection, and we be- 
come unfaithful when, with greater vigilance, we 
should have acquired a new merit for heaven. 

The third condition for receiving the Holy Spirit 
is to ask it by fervent prayer. " He will give the 
good spirit to them that ask Him." Grace comes 
from heaven; therefore we should seek it there, 
since it is from there we must expect it. Attract 
the Holy Spirit to you by the profound conviction 
of your misery and your weakness, by the earnest- 
ness of your desires, and by the knowledge which 
you have of the need of His gifts. Let your soul 
be before Him as the parched earth, which, by its 
very dryness, seems to implore the dews of heaven. 
The apostles were engaged in prayer when they re- 
ceived the Holy Spirit. Then imitate them, pray 
with fervor, and in asking for the Holy Spirit you 
ask for the source of all gifts. 

Second Point , — The effects of the Holy Spirit. The 

Sincipal effects of the Holy Spirit are indicated in 
e Epistle of to-day. He comes like a mighty 
wind. As the wind drives before it straw and dust 
and renews the corrupted air, so the Holy Spirit 
drives away all carnal -affections, earthly desires, 
worldly thoughts, and every evil from the heart. 
He overthrows all idols and breaks every bond; 

O71 the Mystery, 


He purifies the atmosphere of the soul and expels 
the miasms of sin. 

He filled the whole house. He filled the cenacle 
in which the apostles were assembled. These ex- 
pressions should make us understand with what 
abundance the Holy Spirit communicates His gifts. 
He fills the Church with them, and enriches her with 
every virtue and every grace. He showers His 
gifts on the faithful soul and with as great a liber- 
ality as He finds perfect dispositions. Therefore 
open to Him all the avenues of your soul, widen 
and extend all her faculties, that He may enrich 
her with all His gifts. 

The Holy Spirit rested on the apostles in the form 
of tongues of fire. This circumstance reveals to 
you two principal effects of the Holy Spirit, viz. : He 
enlightens and gives warmth at the same time. 
What is more worthy of admiration than the lights 
which He caused to shine on the intelligence of the 
apostles ? What knowledge of the Holy Scriptures ! 
What intelligence concerning the highest mysteries ! 
Jesus had said to them : " I have much more to com- 
municate to you, but you are not capable of under- 
standing now ; but when the Spirit of truth shall 
come, He shall reveal everything to you. " His words 
were verified to the letter. Men so slow to believe 
and so densely ignorant have hardly received the 
Holy Spirit, than they astonish the most learned by 
their profound science ; at length they understand 
what another Teacher had said to them when they 
could not comprehend His teachings: " Blessed are 




they that mourn, blessed are they that suffer perse- 
cution for justice." These truths, which are so op- 
posed to all the sentiments of nature and to all the 
prejudices of the world, are now believed and ac- 
cepted, from the first day, by three thousand per- 
sons. Oh how great is the power of the Holy Spirit ! 
He whom the Holy Scriptures call the most beauti- 
ful among the children of men, He "who went 
about doing good," in spite of His virtues and bene- 
fits could only win to Himself a small number of 
disciples; but at the first preaching of St. Peter 
three thousand men became Christians! This is 
what the Holy Spirit has done for the world. 

And while He enlightens the intelligence, the 
Holy Spirit warms and inflames the heart. He is 
the Spirit of love as well as the Spirit of truth. Of 
all the sentiments which agitate the human heart, 
love is the most powerful. Read the lives of the 
saints. What self-abnegation we see in their lives ! 
What zeal for the glory of their heavenly Father ! 
What charity for their brethren ! With what energy 
did they repress temptations, and with what con- 
tempt did they trample under foot all the seductions 
of the world ! What devotion in the apostles, what 
patience in the martyrs, and what purity in the vir- 
gins! Where shall we look for the principle of all 
these wonders? We shall find it in the divine love 
with which the Holy Spirit filled their hearts. But 
you, oh, how weak you are, and how cowardly ! And 
whence comes it? Either you do not love at all or 
you do not love enough. Conjure the Holy Spirit, 

On the Mystery, 


therefore, to come into your heart and to bless you ; 
ask of Him to plant His grace deeply in your heart, 
that He may make known to you all those titles 
which God has for your gratitude, and may that 
gratitude lead you to love. 

*- 1 





Thirst Point, — You owe to the Holy Trinity the 
homage of your faith. There is not in Holy 
. . . Writ anything more strongly established than 
the mystery of one God in three persons. You 
shall find it expressed in the Gospel most clearly 
and most precise. 

At the moment when the Saviour received Bap- 
tism in the Jordan a voice from heaven is heard 
saying: "This is My beloved Son, in whom I 
am well pleased.** At the same time the Holy 
Spirit, under the form of a dove, rested on the 
head of Jesus. Behold, the three adorable persons 
of the Blessed Trinity, perfectly distinct. Later 
on, when Jesus commanded His apostles to go and 
preach His Gospel throughout the world, He said to 
them : " Go, teach all nations, baptizing them in the 
name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the 
Holy Ghost.*' These words again reveal the exist- 
ence of the Holy Trinity. In fact, the design of 
Our Lord and Saviour was certainly not to baptize 
the faithful in any other name than that of God, 
and He indicates three persons in whose name He 
wishes Baptism to be given. Each of these three 
persons must, therefore, be truly God, and that 

Our Duties Towards the Trinity. 


could not be unless they were really and absolutely 
equal among themselves. 

There is but one God ; this is the foundation of 
our faith. But this same faith teaches you that the 
unity of God is fruitful; that the divine nature, 
without ceasing to be one, is communicated by the 
Father to the Son, and by the Father and the Son, 
to the Holy Spirit. Adore, with a respect wholly 
filial, the mysterious shadow under which God — 
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit— unveils His majesty 
to mortal eyes. Be faithful, and a day shall come 
when you shall contemplate Him without veil or 

shadow. V_ 

Second Point.— You owe to the Trinity the hom- 
age of your respect. " The Holy Trinity is truly 
God, who reigns in the highest heavens and who 
fills the whole earth with His majesty. A Being 
infinitely perfect, to whom all honor, all praise, all 
glory is due for ever and ever.** Strive, therefore, 
to mingle your voice in the concert of blessed 
spirits who in the heavenly city sing with un- 
speakable joy and in profoundest abasement: 
"Holy, holy, thrice holy is the God of armies!" 
With them adore the eternal Father, the principle 
of everything which exists; the eternal Son, equal 
to His Father; the Holy Spirit, equally eternal, and 
whom we cannot separate from the two other per- 
sons. To the three persons give the same worship, 
the same adoration; and when in God*s temple 
you shall hear resounding these triumphant words, 
"Glory be to the Father, to the Son, and to the 




Trinity Sunday. 

Holy Ghost," unite your voice to the voice of the 
Church, and sing with enthusiasm to the glory of 
the august Trinity. 

Third Point, — You owe to the Holy Trinity the 
homage of your love. Everything, in the Church, 
is done in the name of the Trinity. It is in this 
name that the august sacrifice of the New Law is 
offered. The priest at the foot of the altar makes 
the sign of the cross while pronouncing the names 
of the three adorable Persons of the Holy Trinity. 
It is in this name that you have been regenerated 
at the sacred font of Baptism, and it is in this name 
that the priest restores you to grace in the Sacrament 
of Penance. The Church puts this sacred name on 
your lips at the beginning of all your prayers and 
all your acts, by these august words: " In the name 
of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy 
Ghost." How often, perhaps, it has happened that 
you pronounced these words without thinking of 
what you said! Accustom yourself, therefore, to 
pronounce them henceforth with sentiments which 
should arise in every Christian heart. 

" In the name of the Father." He it is who has 
created us ; by a single word He could reduce this 
world to the nothingness from which He has drawn 
it. With what respect should we be filled when pro- 
nouncing a name which recalls such grandeur and 
so many blessings? "In the name of the Son." 
This name recalls all that is tenderest in love, most 
generous in devotion, ^and most lovable in virtue. 
While pronouncing this ever-blessed name, you 

Our Duties Towards the Trinity, 


place your hand on your heart, as if you would say 
to the Son that you love Him. Oh, may this sign be 
the expression of truth and not a vain ceremony ! 
'' In the name of the Holy Ghost." It is the Holy 
Ghost who has sanctified the world; it is in Him, 
as the source, that grace dwells, or, rather, grace is 
nothing else than the Holy Spirit Himself. He re- 
sides in you as the pledge of your divine adoption ; 
He prays for you in terms which no human tongue 
can express. When you speak His name, ask of 
Him the grace never to sadden His heart by resist- 
ing His holy inspirations. 

Fourth Point,— Yovi owe it to the Holy Trinity to 
retrace their image in yourself. This image God 
Himself has deigned to engrave in your soul, since 
Holy Scripture tells you that God made man to His 
own image and likeness. If, by imposing silence 
on your senses, you consider yourself intimately 
' for a few moments, you will easily find the traits of 
this glorious resemblance. Our soul is simple ; God 
is one, and still there are in Him three things really 
distinct. As the Father, our soul has being; as 
the Son, it has intelligence; as the Holy Ghost, it 
has love. Like the Father, the Son, and the Holy 
Ghost, our souls have in their being, in their intel- 
ligence, in their love the same happiness and the 
same life (Bossuet). This likeness, which is only 
commenced in us. mtfst be perfected by retracing 
in our soul and in our conduct, as far as the weak- 
ness of our poor nature shall allow, the divine per- 
fections. It is to perform this glorious work that 


Trinity Sunday. 

Jesus calls us in these words: "Be ye perfect, as 
your heavenly Father is perfect.** And thus the 
Christian, on his way to perfection, can find no rest- 
ing-place: he must "grow constantly from virtue 
to virtue,** until he arrives, as St. Paul says, to " the 
plenitude of the perfect man, which is in Christ 

O my God, I love to contemplate Thee in the 
unity of Thy nature and in the Trinity of Thy per- 
sons. No mystery reveals to me better than this 
one Thy grandeur and my nothingness. The less 
I understand Thee, the more I adore Thee. The 
most worthy use I can make of my reason is to an- 
nihilate myself before Thee. It is the joy of my 
mind, the charm of my weakness to feel myself 
overwhelmed by Thy greatness. May I, O my 
God, by my fidelity in adoring Thee in the shadows 
of faith, merit to contemplate Thee face to face, and 
without veil or shadow, in the city of the elect. 




WE celebrate to-day one of the most beautiful 
feasts of the Catholic Church. Let us medi- 
tate on the motives which have induced the 
Church to institute it, and the duties it imposes 

on us. . . . 

First /"^w/.— Motives of the Church in mstitutmg 
the feast of Corpus Christi. The principal motive 
of the Church in instituting a feast in which she 
surrounds the God of the Eucharist with so much 
magnificence, when she commands her ministers to 
carry Him in triumph about the streets of cities and 
villages, is to make Him reparation for all the out- 
rages that He receives in the august sacrament of 
His love on the part of bad Christians. Jesus, 
having wished to constitute Himself a prisoner of 
love in the holy tabernacles ; Jesus, having given 
us the sacrament of His body and blood for our 
nourishment, our support, and our consolation here 
below, should only receive the homage of our ad- 
oration and the tribute of our gratitude. Instead 
of this He is often the object of outrages which 
are most painful to His heart, by profanations, 
sacrileges, and the irreverences of which we make 
ourselves guilty. In consequence of these prof- 

- ilj-iMi •'irUC'A^iy' . 


■---■-^- V 


Corpus Christi, 

anations, the Holy Eucharist, instituted essen- 
tially to honor the body of the Saviour, becomes for 
this very body a mystery of humiliation and ig- 
nominy. Yes, the body of the Saviour suffers from 
us in the Eucharist a thousand times more than 
it suffered on the part of the Jews in His Passion ! 
In the Passion He only suffered for a time, but here 
He is exposed to suffer to the end of time. In His 
Passion He suffered only as much as Jesus wished 
it, and because He wished it, but here He suffers, 
so to speak, by violence and by force. If He suf- 
fered in His passion, He was in a state of suffering 
and mortal nature, but here He suffers in a state of 
impassibility. What He suffered in His Passion 
was glorious to God and salutary for man, but here 
what He suffers is injurious to man and to God. 
What a powerful motive to awaken and excite all 
your piety for this great mystery ? 

This feast is one of gratitude for the voluntary 
humiliations of Jesus in the Eucharist. Place your- 
self for a moment at the foot of the tabernacle 
which contains your God, and strive to understand 
to what humiliations He has devoted Himself for 
love of you. Humiliations in the solitude to which 
He is condemned. When He was born at Bethlehem 
He had the two cherubim of the manger to adore 
Him, Mary and Joseph, then the shepherds, and, 
finally, the Wise Men; here almost always He is 
alone. His temples are deserted, a solitary lamp 
which swings before the tabernacle is only too often 
the only homage He receives. Humiliations in the 


The Institution of the Feast and Our Duties. 201 

obscurity of His eucharistic life. He is concealed 
in the tabernacle ; He lives there unknown to the 
world, as He once lived in the house of Joseph. 
Humiliations in His state of dependence. Even as 
formerly He was submissive to Joseph and Mary, 
so in the Eucharist He is submissive to the com- 
mands of the priest. The priest calls Him from 
heaven and causes Him to descend ; he encloses Him 
in the tabernacle and makes Him come out from it; 
he takes Him in his hands, lifts HiniNup, puts Him 
down, carries Him to the sick^_djstrit)utes Him to 
the people, gives Him to children and even to sin- 
ners. Jesus obeys, and always obeys. Humilia- 
tions in His state of annihilation. Was there ever 
one more complete? At Bethlehem, He was born 
in a state of complete indigence. The humanity 
veiled the divinity, but a miraculous star revealed 
His presence ; if He leads in the midst of the peo^^^^ 
pie a painful and laborious life, in contempt anq 
contradictions, all His steps are marked by prodigiesV 
and His humiliations do not conceal the Master of ^ 
the world, since He is recognized by His miracles. 
If He dies on the cross. His last sigh makes the 
world tremble, and countless prodigies reveal in 
the dying man the Son of the Most High. But 
how shall we recognize a God in the God of our 
temples ? 

In the Holy Eucharist, Jesus not only conceals 
His divinity, but His very humanity has disap- 
peared, and we see realized the words of the apostle 
with especial energy: " He is annihilated." On to- 




Corpus Christi, 

day the Church strives to efface many humilia- 
tions ; she does not wish that the God of the Eu- 
charist should be an unknown God ; she withdraws 
Him from the sanctuary where He reposes, from 
the enclosure of the temples which contain Him ; 
she carries Him through the streets of the cities, 
she adores and avows Him as her God. In fine, 
to set off the display of triumph destined to her 
King, she puts forth all that is majestic in her 
august ceremonies, the most sumptuous in her 
treasures ; she strips the earth of its flowers ; she 
borrows from profane vanity its luxury and its 
pomp, happy to testify to her heavenly Spouse 
her love and her gratitude. 

Second Point. — Our duties on this blessed day. 
The occupation of a Christian soul on this solem- 
nity should be to enter into the sentiments of the 
Church, and with her to honor the body of the Sav- 
iour. And what is it to honor the body of the Sav- 
iour? It is to give Him all the worship which it can 
receive from us in the Sacrament of the Altar. It is 
to imitate Magdalene, who had a particular zeal for 
this sacred body, watering it with her tears, wiping 
it with her hair, and spreading on it sweetest per- 
fumes. After her example, you should often pros- 
trate yourself in the presence of this sacred body, 
and there offer to it a thousand sacrifices of praise, 
a thousand interior adorations, a thousand homages, 
and a thousand acts of thanksgiving. You should 
say to it sometimes, with a lively faith and with 
ardent devotion : " Divine Body, Thou hast been the 


The Institution of the Feast and Our Duties. 203 

price of my salvation ; what should I not do to glorify 
Thee ? The heretic despises Thee, the impious out- 
rage Thee, but as for me, O my God, I am happy to 
offer to Thee the incense of my prayer and the hom- 
age of my love.'' Such are the sentiments which 
should animate you ; and because the body of Jesus 
shall be to-day carried in triumph, your duty is to 
contribute to the pomp of this triumph, and to all 
the extent of your power. You are so fond of a 
thousand superfluities which serve only for luxury 
and vanity; there it is that you can sanctify them, 
by consecrating them to the body of your God, by 
employing them to enrich the vessels which con- 
tain Him and to embellish the tabernacles where 
He is enclosed, and to adorn His oratories where He 
remains. You gre so careful of your bodies; you 
love so much to ygidorn them and to clothe them, 
and for this purpose you spare no expense ! But 
your body, that body infected by sin, that body 
which shall soon be only dust and corruption — 
should it be dearer to you than the body of Christ ? 
In fine, because the body of the Son of God is 
taken out of its temples and carried in triumph, 
what does the Christian soul do? She follows Him 
in His triumph and gives herself as an escort. 
This is what the Spirit of God divinely expresses 
in the spouse of the canticles. She says she has 
sought her well-beloved in the place where he is 
accustomed to take his repose ; but, she adds, not 
having found him, she has taken the resolution to go 
out, to go into the streets and places of the city to 



Corpus Christi. 

seek him. The guards and the officers of the city 
have met her; she perceives him in their midst, and 
at once she runs to him and she does not leave 
him until she has led him to the house of her 
mother. This spouse is the faithful soul. To-day 
she seeks the Saviour of the world in His tabernacle, 
and she does not find Him there. She then goes 
through the streets and public places to see if He 
shall be there. He is there ; in fact, she meets Him 
surrounded by guards and ministers who carry 
Him with honor, and the whole people make His 
countless court. She casts herself at His feet, she 
adores Him, she follows Him with her eyes, she 
does not leave Him until He enters the temple, 
which is really the house^of her mother. Imitate 
her, and strive to pay to your adorable King the 
just tribute of your love and your gratitude. 




T^HE Church has fixed the feast of the Blessed 
Sacrament for the first Thursday after Trinity 
. . • Sunday, and thus she affords her children 
every facility of testifying their gratitude to the 
God of the Eucharist. During eight days this 
adorable Master shall come from His tabernacle 
and shall be exposed to your gaze, as if He would 
come closer and closer to you. Oh, how poorly you 
understand your souFs best interest if you fail to 
respond to this lovable condescension! To-day 
reanimate your faith by meditating on the proofs 
which demonstrate the real presence of Jesus in the 
Blessed Eucharist. These proofs are of two kinds: 
proofs of reason and theological proofs. 

First Point, — The proofs of reason which demon- 
strate the real presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacra- 
ment are taken from the absurd consequences of the 
contrary doctrine. If the Protestants are right in 
declaring that Jesus is in figure and not in reality 
in the Holy Eucharist, then Christianity — this re- 
ligion so pure in its moral and so sublime in its 
dogma, and having all the characters of divinity — 
was, from the beginning, the most monstrous and 


Second Sunday after Pentecost, 

most extravagant religion. It merits justly all the 
reproaches of superstition, idolatry, and foolishness 
lavished on paganism. See all the disciples of 
Christ, foolish victims of error, having at their head 
their doctors, their venerable prelates, lights of the 
world by their science and by their virtue, prostra- 
ting themselves before bread, which is only a vain 
image, and adoring it as the Egyptians formerly 
adored the fruits of their gardens. Calvin, who had 
come to undeceive the world, merited divine honors 
much more than Jesus ; he should be regarded as 
the benefactor of humanity, while Jesus would be 
only an impostor. 

In fact, either Jesus foresaw the false interpreta- 
tion which would be given to His words, " This is 
My body, this is My blood,'* or He did not foresee 
it. If He foresaw it. He should have hindered it; 
otherwise He has deceived His apostles. His 
friends, and His Church. He has left her in error 
during fifteen centuries, and He has failed in His 
promises of being with her to the end of time. If 
He did not foresee those false interpretations, He 
is not God ; He is only a cheat and an impostor. 
And thus the denial of the Real Presence carries 
with it the denial of all religion. These monstrous 
consequences should suffice to make us reject as 
false and impious the doctrine which begets them. 
But these are not all. 

By the interpretation of Protestants, St. Paul is 
convicted of absurdity. In his First Epistle to the 
Corinthians he formally declares that he is guilty 

Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. 207 

of outrage against the body of Jesus who should 
dare to receive the eucharistic bread unworthily. 
Are these words, which are so true in a Catholic 
sense, anything else than an absurdity in the Prot- 
estant sense? If Jesus is not really in the Eu- 
charist, or if He is there only in figure, or if the 
bread is eaten only in faith, can he who partici- 
pates in this mystery unworthily be wanting in re- 
spect for Jesus. Does he abuse His goodness ? How 
are we to understand that such a one outrages the 
body of Christ? Besides, if it is faith which attracts 
Jesus in the Eucharist, to the Jew or an unbeliever 
not having faith the Eucharist is only a piece of 
ordinary bread ; and how can a piece of bread be 
profaned ? 

St. Paul has said that the glory of the Old Law 
was nothing when compared with the sublimity of 
the Gospel. By the interpretation of Protestants 
these words are false. In fact, if the body of the 
Saviour is not in the Eucharist, all the excellence 
and advantage are on the side of the manna. This 
bread falls from heaven; it is prepared by angel 
hands, wholly miraculous and diversified in an in- 
finity of tastes ; it is a figure of Jesus far more 
worthy and more noble than the material bread 
made by the hands of men, if this bread even after 
consecration was only a figure. We must say the 
same of the ancient sacrifices, and in particular of 
the paschal lamb, whose blood was an image of the 
blood of Jesus more natural than wine, and espe- 
cially a more lively and touching image. Contrary 


■^lem^^v . • iirtiifc 


Second Sunday after Pentecost, 

to the words of St. Paul, the Gospel, in this matter, 
would be inferior to the Old Law and the Church in- 
ferior to the synagogue. Reason rejects such a 
consequence, and it forces us to recognize the Real 
Presence or to accept the most monstrous absurdi- 

Second Point. — The theological proofs are taken 
from the very words which Jesus employed in the 
institution of the Blessed Eucharist : " This is My 
body, this is My blood." Reflect on these words, 
and say if the Saviour could employ expressions 
more precise to affirm His real presence. The Prot- 
estants who deny it pretend that here the language 
of Jesus is figurative and that His words must be 
taken in a metaphorical sense. As if the Saviour 
had said : " This is the figure of My body ; this is 
the figure of My blood." The falsity of such an 
interpretation is evident from the very circum- 
stances in which the words were pronounced. 
Jesus was about to die ; at that solemn moment one 
shall hardly employ language which is figurative 
and almost unintelligible, and especially when one 
speaks to friends who are the depositaries of his last 
will. The Saviour of the world was making His 
last will and testament, and He bequeathed to the 
Church His body and His blood— all that He pos- 
sessed. The very essence of a last will and testa- 
ment is that it shall be expressed in clearest terms 
and exempt from all ambiguity ; the law requires 
that the words of such a testament should be ac- 
cepted in their natural and literal sense. Has it 

Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, 209 

ever been heard of that the terms of a last will 
should be interpreted in a figurative sense? But 
what is the evident meaning of these words : " This 
is My body, this is My blood"? Is it the meaning 
which the Church gives them by taking them in 
their literal sense? Is it the meaning which her- 
etics give them when they assert that they signify, 
This is the figure of My body ? But how can this 
last interpretation be justified ? There are in the 
world two kinds of signs, viz., natural signs and 
signs of convention. New, a piece of bread has 
never been the natural sign of a body ; on the other 
hand, there is not in the Gospel a single word which 
ever fell from the lips of Jesus which has made it 
a conventional sign. Jesus had warned His dis- 
ciples that He would speak to them no longer in 
parables. His words should therefore be accepted 
in their natural sense, and every other interpreta- 
tion is purely arbitrary and finds no foundation 


Behold the last will and testament of the Saviour, 
and the things He has bequeathed us. They are 
all contained in these words, which assure to the 
Catholic priesthood the power of renewing, to the 
end of the world, what He Himself did the first 
time. "Do this in commemoration of Me." The 
priest, in virtue of these words pronounced over 
the bread and the wine, " This is My body, this is 
My blood," operates this mystery, the substance of 
the bread and wine disappears, and they become the 
body and blood of Jesus. 


Second Sunday after Pentecost, 

What simplicity, as Bossuet remarks, and what 
omnipotent power in these few words ! After such 
assurance on the part of the Saviour, what remains 
for us to do if not to believe, and adore, and love? 
He says that it is His body, therefore it is His 
body; He says that it is His blood, therefore it is 
His blood ! My Saviour, be forever blessed for this 
favor! Thou hast wished to be Thyself the inheri- 
tance of Thy children, and Thy love knows how to 
survive death, in discovering the secret of eternal- 
izing Thy presence in the midst of them. 



WE celebrate to-day the feast of the Sacred 
Heart of Jesus. Let us enter into the senti- 

. . ments of the Church by meditating on the 
object of this feast land the duties which it imposes. 

First Point,— By instituting the feast of the 
Sacred Heart, the Church has wished to honor the 
immense love with which the heart of God has 
burned for us, and to eternalize the memory of it. 
In fact, the heart is the seat of the affections and 
the principle of generous devotion. To establish 
a feast in honor of the heart of Jesus is, therefore, 
to erect a monument which shall recall the sacri- 
fices which the love of Jesus for men has imposed 
on Him. And what is more natural than such an 
institution? To console herself for the loss of her 
cherished child, a mother retains a part of his 
clothing. A child, to solace his sorrow, erects a 
suitable monument to the memory of the mother 
whom he has lost ; a people set free from slavery 
wish to preserve the generous heart of the liberator 
whom death has removed from their gratitude ; in 
fact, it seems that while these precious pledges 
keep their regrets alive, they still sweeten their bit- 
terness. The feast of the Sacred Heart is a monu- 



Third Sunday after Pentecost, 

ment which must constantly recall the love and the 
blessings of our divine Saviour. In the Eucharist 
we adore not only His divine nature, but also His 
body and blood; by a particular feast we vener- 
ate His adorable wounds and the very thorns 
with which His sacred brow was crowned, the nails 
which pierced His hands and feet, and the cross on 
which He expired. How then shall we refuse our 
homages to this Sacred Heart, the noblest and ten- 
derest portion of His sacred humanity? 

All blessings have come to us from this divine 
Heart. By the mouth of Jesus it has published 
those evangelical truths which teach us the way to 
heaven. It was the heart of Jesus that wept over 
Lazarus in the tomb, and over the ill-fated city of 
Jerusalem — sad figures of a soul stained by sin. It 
was His heart which prompted Him to heal the sick 
and call the children to Him, and to pardon sinners 
and raise the dead to life. It was His heart which 
poured out its bloody sweat from every part of His 
body in the Garden of Olives. If it is true that one 
deserves to be loved in proportion as they love, 
what love does not our adprable Saviour merit? 

Open the Gospel and judge of it for yourself. 
How amiable He is when He compares Himself to 
a Father who weeps for very joy at seeing His prodi- 
gal son teturn; when He depicts Himself to us 
under the image of the Good Shepherd who seeks 
for His lost sheep; when He pardons the woman 
taken in the commission of sin, and when He allows 
the vilest sinners to approach Him. Whom do you 

Devotion to the Sacred Heart, 


see at Hisjfeet ? Magdalene, a public sinner. And 
on whom does He bestow His tenderness and mild- 
ness? On the poor children whom He caresses. 
He meets with a widow who mourns the loss of her 
only son, and His heart is touched with pity and 
He commands death to give back its victim. Be- 
hold Him at Jacob's well, conversing with the 
Samaritan woman and revealing to her the secret 
of His divinity. Is it possible to manifest more 
merciful tenderness? 

But behold the masterpiece of His love ! Before 
the Good Shepherd had given His life for His flock, 
He had given them His heart, by instituting the 
Blessed Eucharist. Other shepherds provide food 
for themselves from their flock, but Jesus gives 
Himself to His sheep to be their nourishment: 
"Eat, this is My body, drink, this is My blood." 
And He shall remain with them till the end of time 
to sustain and console them. " Come to Me, all you 
who are heavily laden, all you that suffer, come to 
Me whosoever you may be, and I shall refresh you." 
Where shall you find love more constant, words 
that are sweeter, or invitation more pressing? You 
are worthy of pity if these thoughts do not reach 
your heart. 

Second Point,— Ilo suitably honor the heart of 
Jesus, three conditions are necessary: We should 
invoke it with confidence, imitate it with fidelity, 
and love it generously. 

Invoke it with confidence. It is the heart of a 
friend, and you could not doubt it for a moment, 


Third Sunday after Pentecost. 

especially after reflecting on what has just been told 
you. You shall seek in vain to find a heart that 
loves you with more devotion. But besides, it is 
the heart of a God. You may doubt the constancy 
of some mortal friend and you may suspect his 
fidelity; you may exhaust his kindness, for every 
human love is inconstant and all human goodness 
has limits; but the heart of a God! ah, no. When 
human friendship fails, His friendship shall never 
fail and is the only one worth striving for. How 
often does mistrust and suspicion invade our hearts 
and wound the Sacred Heart of Jesus! We think 
that we shall never acquire piety, or overcome cer- 
tain defects, or conquer certain temptations ; we 
think, therefore, that Jesus does not love us suffi- 
ciently to help us, or that He is not powerful enough 
to defend us against the demon ! Be on your guard 
against such despairing thoughts. They are one of 
the most dangerous temptations, especially in cer- 
tain circumstances, when a great confidence can 
alone give us the strength to overcome every ob- 

You should imitate the heart of Jesus if you wish 
to honor it worthily. To imitate the heart of Jesus 
is to copy it. Now, when you wish to copy a 
picture, you must first study it. To copy the heart 
of Jesus, the first thing to do is to strive to know it 
well. The god of philosophers is known by the 
prodigies and wonders which come from his hands, 
but the God of the humble Christian is known es- 
pecially by His blessings. 

Devotion to the Sacred Heart, 


The dove selects the rocks of the deserts in which 
to build her dwelling, but the faithful soul chooses 
the heart of Jesus, in which she retires and there 
reflects in secret. In the heart of Jesus she beholds 
her own; she contrasts the thoughts, the affections, 
and the desires of Jesus with her own desires, affec- 
tions, and thoughts. In the heart of Jesus she finds 
humility, chastity, charity, patience, love of the 
cross, and zeal for souls; but in her own heart she 
finds pride, sensuality, jealousy, love of pleasures, 
and inconstancy; she strives to dispel all these 
vicious dispositions and exemplify the virtues of her 
divine Model. Jesus smiles on her efforts, and sus- 
tains them by His grace. 

You should love the heart of Jesus. The only 
request which Jesus makes, the only gift that He 
would receive from us, is the possession of our 
heart. "My son,'' He says to you, "give Me thy 
heart.'' And here let us ask, what is our heart, 
that Jesus asks for it so earnestly? What treasure 
is concealed there? It is because the most precious 
of all gifts is the heart, and it renders every other 
gift precious. But is it not something more ? Yes, 
since to possess the heart is the glorious triumph. 
Everywhere the victory for Jesus was easy. He 
walked on the waters. He healed the sick, He com- 
manded the elements; in a word, nothing could re- 
sist His power. It was only in the heart He found 
resistance, and now He considers it His glory to 
conquer it. Thus, all His efforts tend to gain the 
hearts of men. In the crib, His tears ; on the cross, 



Third Sunday after Pentecost. 

His sufferings ; in the Eucharist, His humiliations 
— everything to win human hearts to Himself. 
Christian, God asks your love, shall you dare to re- 
fuse it to Him? It is absolutely necessary that 
your heart should be given to some one, since it 
cannot live without loving, nor can it love without 
bestowing itself on the object of its love. If your 
heart is to be given or sold, who can better purchase 
it than He who made it? If it is to be given away, 
who deserves it better than He who is its happiness 
and its end ? Give your heart to Jesus, and ask Him 
to accept it and to watch over it, to-day and for- 




• I 



T^HE Gospel of to-day contains a grand and beau- 
* tiful instruction. If we reflect upon it well, 
... we shall find in it • all the prerogatives which 
distinguish the bark of Peter, that is to say, the 
Holy Roman Catholic Church, and the signs which 
manifest our love for her. 

First Point,—'' And Jesus, going up into one of 
the ships, which was Peter's." If Jesus entered 
the bark of Peter, it was not by chance He did so. 
He has wished to teach us that if we would find this 
bark we must seek it in the Church which Peter 
and his successors conduct and govern. The ship 
of which Peter is the head is the only one which 
carries Christ ; the others are not with Him nor is 
He with them. They do not carry His doctrine to 
the different parts of the world ; they carry only the 
sad inventions of men. Thus the Lutherans, the 
Calvinists, the Greeks, and the Anglicans are not 
the Church of Jesus, because they are not in the 
bark of Peter. The true Church is one in its doc- 
trine, in its worship, in its hierarchy, while the 
others change their morale, their creed, and their 
w^orship according to caprice, to climate, and to the 




Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, 

passions of men. In their eternal variations and in 
their multiplied creeds they openly contradict Jesus, 
who, in praying for His Church, said to His Father: 
** Keep them, that they may be one, as you and I 
are one.*' 

The Holy Roman Catholic Church, which is your 
mother, since it is from her bosom you have drawn 
your Christian life, possesses unity of doctrine, and, 
although she has countless children scattered over 
all the countries of the world, she everywhere 
teaches to all the same doctrine ; among the sav- 
ages as well as in civilized countries, to the chil- 
dren of the king as well as to the children of the 
poor, and she owes this unity of belief to her hier- 
archy divinely instituted. The Sovereign Pontiff 
has received, in the person of the Prince of the 
apostles, the mission to " confirm his brethren in 
the faith/' and as a vigilant sentinel he watches 
over the integrity of the faith and repudiates every 
change in it. Think, for an instant, on this phe- 
nomenon of the unity of faith, in the multiplicity of 
the faithful ! Two men cannot be in accord for a 
quarter of an hour, and yet millions of men during 
nineteen centuries believe the same truths and 
without discussion submit their intelligence to the 
same faith. How can this wonder be explained? 
Represent to yourself a man seated on a rock in 
the midst of the ocean, and insisting that the waves 
should observe a uniform motion. You would ex- 
claim: "This is truly a wonder.'* Well, there is a 
man who, from his seat on the rock on which Jesus 


On the Church. 


has built His Church, commands disturbed minds 
and insists on a uniform method of thinking, and 
that man is the Pope. At his feet he beholds the 
rise and flow of human opinions which disturb and 
overthrow everything in the world, while he does 
not change, and by his authority he maintains unity 
in the Church. Is it possible not to see the finger 

of God in all this? 

Jesus in the bark of Peter confirms the truth of 
His words in the wonder of the miraculous fishing. 
Thus He has granted to His Church, and to her 
only, the grace of working miracles in all ages and 
in all countries. This is the divine mark by 
which we recognize the bark of Peter. The flight 
of demons, the resurrection of the dead, the gift of 
prophecy, and the healing of those who were hope- 
lessly sick— this is what you shall find on every 
page of the Church's history. While the apos- 
tolic men proclaimed God's truths. He confirmed 
their preaching by miracles. A miracle is a pal- 
pable, invincible proof; it is the seal of God placed 
on the divine word sent from heaven to earth. By 
the gift of miracles God tells us : It is I who have 
sent these men, and the proof of it is that I have 
clothed them with My power, and if they had not 
been sent by Me would nature obey them? " God," 
says Bossuet, " has the right to make Himself be- 
lieved, and also the means to make Himself heard. 
As soon as an affirmation is signed by these two 
words, *I the Lord,' and as soon as that signature 
is legalized by His inimitable seal— the miracle— it 


Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, 

is He who speaks, it is He who commands, and we 
have only to believe and obey/' 

Jesus commanded Peter to launch his bark out 
into the deep. What does this mean ? It indicates 
the exalted life, wholly supernatural and heavenly, 
to which the Church, by her doctrine, by her morale, 
and by the omnipotent power of her sacraments, 
leads us. In her fold, and there only, we behold the 
divine virtues brightly shining and men rising to 
the highest degree of sanctity and perfection. Is 
this character of sanctity found among the dissent- 
ing sects? No, in this regard God has struck them 
with an eternal sterility, and you shall never find 
among them a single man who, by his heroic vir- 
tues, has won the admiration of the world, as a St. 
Francis de Sales, a Vincent de Paul, a St. Charles 
Borromeo, and others. 

The deep waters to which Peter was commanded 
to go represent those regions of the world which 
are most distant. The Saviour seemed to say to 
Peter: "I shall place under your shepherd's staff 
all the nations of the earth. You shall preach the 
Gospel to every creature, you shall guide the sin- 
ners back to the fold, you shall convert the pagans, 
and of all the people you shall make but one sheep- 
fold, one flock, of which you shall be the only shep- 
herd." And so Catholic Rome extends her activity 
over the whole world — in the islands of America 
and Oceanica, among the most uncivilized people 
of Africa as well as among the polished cities of 
Europe, everywhere Peter baptizes, preaches, and 

On the Church. 


converts souls, and, whatever may be the obstacles, 
he shall always continue until he shall have landed 
in the haven of safety the last soul that shall ever 

live on earth. 

It is recorded in the Gospel that the bark of Peter 
was almost submerged. The Church also has been 
exposed from time to time by tempests so formi- 
dable that her enemies have said : " It is all over for 
the Church," and her friends trembled while ex- 
pecting to see her engulfed by the flood of human 
passions. But they who hoped and they who feared 
for the ruin of the Church did not know the extent 
of the promises which Jesus had made to His 
Church when He said : " The gates of hell shall 
not prevail against her." Relying on this promise, 
true Catholics entertain no fear for the Church; 
they know that Jesus is with her, that He conducts 
her, He prays for her, and that sooner or later she 
shall come forth triumphant from all her trials. 
The past gives assurance for the future. A brutal 
and barbarous persecution passed over the Church 
during three hundred years, and the Church tri- 
umphed in the conversion of her executioners. 
Heresies then followed ; they were reduced to help- 
lessness, while she remains full of life and prosper- 
ous, and the branches which have separated from 
her' languish and ultimately die. The war of pas- 
sions, pride, pleasure, and impiety arises in every 
age ; the attacks are so violent that the bark of Peter 
is rudely shaken, but she is never submerged. 
The enemies of the Church die penitent or impeni- 


Fourth Sunday after Pentecost. 

tent, and silence promptly falls about their tombs, 
and the Church stands erect on the ruins of her op- 
pressors. This perpetuity of the Church, in the 
midst of the instability of human things, is one of 
the most striking proofs of the divinity of her 
origin. O Church of God, my mother, I am devoted 
to you from the depths of my heart, I wish to love 
you and obey you, and to remain faithful to you 
until death. Guide me, enlighten me, and conduct 
me to the haven of salvation. 



TESUS, in the Gospel of to-day, warns you that if 
J your piety would be agreeable to God, it must 
. excel the justice of the Pharisees. He re- 
proaches these hypocritical men, by declaring that 
all their justice was most culpable since it was 
purely exterior, wholly incomplete, and most inter- 

First Point.— The justice of the Pharisees was 
wholly exterior. Jesus said to them: "You are 
careful to cleanse the exterior of the cup regardless 
of what is within' it," and for this reason He calls 
them "whited sepulchres.'* St. Luke also speaks 
of the justice of the Pharisees : " I am not as the 
rest of men.** In what do you excel, vain and 
proud man ? " I fast twice in the week and I pay 
the tenth of all I possess.*' He boasts only of his 
external works, and they that resemble him are 
attached only to the external observances. The 
Pharisee does not abandon or despise the practices 
of piety, or the ceremonies of religion. Exterior 
worship is a duty, and the sloth or false shame 
which makes us neglect it is a sin. But it is quite 
another thing to be engaged solely in exterior 


Fifth Sunday after Pentecost, 

works of piety, and to put aside the virtues which 
are in the soul ; this is really to possess a Phari- 
saical justice. 

If your piety be true, it must be united to virtue. 
To be pious without being virtuous is to cleanse the 
outside of the cup without putting in it the perfume 
which must attract the pleasure of God; it is to 
resemble those whited sepulchres of which the 
Saviour spoke, which appeared beautiful in the eyes 
of men, but which were within full of dead bones 
and corruption. If, therefore, you wish that your 
worship may be an act of adoration, and not a false- 
hood, it must be the expression of your interior 
sentiments ; otherwise you shall merit this reproach 
of the Saviour : " These people honor me with their 
lips, but their hearts are far from me.'* Yes, says 
Bossuet, to say prayers, to go to church, assist at 
the holy sacrifice, to take holy water, and to kneel 
without having the spirit of all this, is pharisaical 
justice. It seems to have some exactitude, but it 
is reprobated by God, who wishes to have, particu- 
larly, the homage of the heart. 

Is this deceitful piety, which was so common in 
the Mosaic law, very rare in the Church of Jesus 
Christ ? Alas, how many Christians pride themselves 
on their regularity, and place all their perfection in 
the fulfilment of the exterior duties which religion 
commands, while they neglect what is most imperi- 
ously commanded— to restrain their temper, regu- 
late their inclinations, and repress their passions! 
How many are considered as devout people because 

On Christian Justice. 



they are assiduous in the temple, and who are vain, 
sensual, angry, and detractors? They are scrupu- 
lous at the slightest neglect in their habits of devo- 
tion, but they have no remorse for their numerous 
defects. The reason of this inversion of principles 
is not easily understood. The external practices 
are not so difficult as the exercise of interior virtue ; 
the performance of some acts costs less than self- 
reformation. We, therefore, abandon the duties 
which require combats against ourselves, to indulge 
in practices which are more to our tastes. Guard 
well against this deceitful piety, which will hope- 
lessly ruin you because it forms in you a conscience 
which is truly false. 

Second Point.— T\ie justice of the Pharisee was 
incomplete. True justice, that which shone in the 
lives of the saints, is an act of obedience and fidelity 
to all the commandments: it fulfilled all the law. 
Jesus has said : " He that loves Me shall keep My 
commandments.'* He did not say some of My 
commandments, nor for some time only, but all 
the commandments, and always, and at every age. 
The Pharisees chose, according to their caprice, 
those commandments which were convenient for 
them. They practised certain observances which 
were to their taste, and neglected the most essen- 
tial precepts. This is the reproach which Jesus' 
made to them, and with a severity of language 
which clearly shows the indignation with which 
this vicious piety inspired Him. "Woe to you, 
Pharisees, hypocrites, because you are exact in 


1 1 


Fifth Sunday after Pentecost, 

paying tithes, you are faithful in observing certain 
legal ceremonies, and you forget the essential duties 
of justice, charity and mercy." 

The Pharisees considered it a crime to gather a 
bundle of straw on the Sabbath day, while on that 
same day they formed intrigues against Jesus. 
They took care to wash their hands before their 
repasts, and charged the apostles with a crime for 
neglecting this practice ; but at the same time they 
violated the precept which commanded them to 
honor father and mother. This is certainly a 
strange combination of piety and sin which can be 
explained only with difficulty. If we are unfaithful 
in little things, and stand firm in greater matters, 
this would be a consequence of our poor human 
frailty; but that we should discover a piety whose 
character is to be exact even to scrupulosity in little 
things, and to neglect things which are essential, is 
one of the grossest illusions. But it is so frequent 
that it cannot be guarded against too much. Look 
upon it as one of the pitfalls which the demon places 
for souls which he sees strongly attached to virtue. 
If he tempted them to commit sin, these souls 
would reject the temptation with horror. Having 
no hope to seduce them, he strives to lead them 
astray. He employs, however, the contrary means. 
It is through their very taste for piety that he 
tempts them. He places before their eyes the 
means of apparent perfection, but not real, and in- 
spires them with an unwise ardor in their exercise. 
Because these practices are to their taste, they re- 

On Christian Justice, 


main faithful to them nevertheless. And one of 
the scandals of the world, one of the reproaches 
which irreligion urges against piety, is to behold 
true obligations, those which the profession of 
piety imposes and which justice and charity pre- 
scribe, sacrificed to false duties. 

To avoid all illusion, we must distinguish well 
between what is only mere counsel and what is of 
precept ; between the things which are of simple 
perfection and those which are of rigorous obliga- 
tion. We should be faithful to the first through 
love, and to the others through duty. To do that 
which is only a counsel and to neglect that which 
is a precept is the sign of a false devotion ; to do 
only that which is of precept and to* despise what 
is merely of counsel is a sign of slothf ulness ; but 
to faithfully attend to both, the precept and the 
counsel, is indeed perfection. 

Third Point,— The justice of the Pharisees was 
interested. They sought only the esteem of men, 
and cared little for the esteem of God. They prayed 
to be seen, they gave alms to be applauded, and 
they fasted to earn for themselves the reputation 
of being just men. Men, charmed by all their ex- 
ternal beauty, honored and venerated them; but 
Jesus, who read their hearts, exclaimed: "Woe to 
you, hypocrites, who pretend to pray in public, and 
who sound the trumpet when you distribute alms, 
you have already received your reward.*' But is 
your virtue really exempt from that gross pride 
which was the only motive of the Pharisee ; is it 



Fifth Sunday after Pentecost, 


wholly disinterested? Pride is very subtle, and 
there are many little winding ways by which it 
enters our soul. 

That your piety may be disinterested it is neces- 
sary in all you do — prayers, alms, good works, con- 
fessions, communions — that you should have but 
the single intention of pleasing God ; every other 
motive shall be a stain on your soul, if it be not 
completely effaced. And now, is your piety truly 
disinterested ? Indeed, it is not a hypocritical piety, 
but is it truly God, only, you seek in your devotion? 
Is it He or His consolations? Is it the thought that 
you wish to honor God which makes you desire to 
receive holy communion so often, or that prompts 
your prayer on certain days? Or is it because you 
find a certain pleasure in the performance of these 
exercises of devotion? If God should withdraw 
that sensible pleasure you experience, would you 
continue to pray and approach the sacraments? 
Have these exercises of devotion ceased to be 
agreeable to the heart of God when they ceased to 
be consoling to you? Then it is not for God that 
you have been virtuous and faithful; it was for 
yourself. We should fear the anathema hurled by 
our divine Saviour against the Pharisees: "They 
have already received their reward." 




\A7HILE meditating on the different circum- 
^^ stances of this day's Gospel, you shall find 
... in it the great foundations of Christian con- 
fidence, viz., the knowledge of God, His goodness, 
and His power. 

First Point. — The knowledge of God is the first 
foundation of our confidence in Him. See, by the 
Gospel of to-day, how all that concerns us is of 
greatest concern to Jesus, in the past, the present, 
and the future. For the past: Jesus reminds His 
disciples that during three days the people fol- 
lowed Him. He therefore knows how long we 
have served Him, and He has counted all the mo- 
ments. Our divine Saviour adds: "Some of them 
have come from afar." Not only does He count 
the time, but He knows all that it has cost us to 
come to Him — the temptations we have resisted, 
the obstacles we have overcome, and the sacrifices 
we have imposed on ourselves. There is not a step 
taken for Him that He has not seen and which 
He does not remember. Ah, how sweet it is to 
serve a Master who knows so well all that we have 

done for Him ! 

For the present : Jesus warns His disciples that 


Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, 

the people are in great need and that He has not 
wherewith to nourish them. Whatsoever may be 
the situation in which we are, God sees us and knows 
all our needs ; He knows our misery and our pov- 
erty, our losses and our misfortunes, our afflictions 
and our pains, our temptations and our weakness, 
our spiritual and temporal wants. Men do not 
know them, and often they wish neither to know 
them nor to believe them. Why then do you place 
your confidence in men, and not in God alone? 
Why do you not seek your consolation in this 
sweet thought, that God sees everything and knows 

everything ? 

For the future, Jesus reminds the apostles of 
the danger of sending the people away without 
having given them some nourishment. Ordinarily 
it is the future which is the cause of our greatest 
solicitude; it is the future which the demon em- 
ploys frequently to disturb and discourage us ; but 
why are we disturbed by a future of which we are 
ignorant? God only knows it; let us leave it to 
His care. Not only does He see the future, but He 
sees it in relation to us ; He sees what must befall 
us, whether it be happy or unfortunate, and He 
knows the means to put away from us whatever 
may be injurious and to procure for us whatever 
may be advantageous. Let us therefore place in 
Him our entire confidence. Then shall we give 
Him the most glorious worship that is possible for 
us, and we shall find, for ourselves, the most pre- 
cious blessing, viz., peace of heart. 

Confidence in God, 


Second Point. -1\^^ goodness of God is the second 
foundation of our confidence. Jesus, having called 

His disciples, said to them: " I ^^^^^^ ^°"^f ^^T^r 
the people." The knowledge which God has of our 
needs is not a sterile knowledge. Alas', men, for 
the most part, when they see us in affliction remain 
insensible. The fortunate ones of the ^orW, °^ 
hearing of the sufferings of the poor, are but little 
moved and neglect to bring them assistance. But 
it is not so with our God. The sight of our miseries 
excites in Him the sentiments of tenderest com- 
passion: "I have compassion on the multitude 
because they continue with Me now three days 
• and have not what to eat; and I will not send 
them away fasting, lest they faint in the way^ 
What treasures of tenderness are enclosed m the 
heart of Jesus, since these words escaped from His 
lios O my amiable Saviour, whose heart is sen- 
sible to all miseries, shall Thou behold mine and 

not be moved? . 

The knowledge which God has of our needs stirs 
His Sacred Heart with compassion ; it does more, it 
prompts Him to assist us. Jesus, having repre- 
sented to His apostles that the people who had 
followed Him for three days had nothing to eat 
added • " I will not send them away fasting, lest 
they faint in the way." Listen to these words 
vou who follow Christ and who are faithfully 
attached to Him! Yes, in His service you shall 
suffer. He will test your fervor and your con- 
stancy to a certain point, but He knows how far 


Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, 


and how long your strength will last, and He will 
not allow you to be tried beyond that. Everything 
seems to be wanting; your condition has become 
desperate; relatives, friends, protectors, all have 
abandoned you ; but your God will never abandon 
you, He will assist you. Where shall this assist- 
ance come from ? This is the objection which the 
apostles raise. " Whence then should we have so 
many loaves in the desert, as to fill so great a 
multitude?'* Whence shall come the assistance? 
You do not know, nor can you foresee ; but should 
Jt not suffice to know that God wishes we should 
have it, and that He does not wish we should be 
abandoned in our need ? Rest assured in the bosom 
of His infinite goodness, persevere in the senti- 
ments of the fullest confidence, and you shall not 
be deceived. 

Third Point, — The power of God is the third 
foundation of our confidence in Him. "And tak- 
ing the seven loaves which His apostles gave Him, 
He blessed them and distributed them to the peo- 
ple. All did eat and were filled, and they took up 
that which was left of the fragments, seven baskets. 
And they that had eaten were about four thousand 
men, without counting the women and children.*' 
What a prodigy ! What abundance ! And yet this 
prodigy of power God renews every day in favor 
of His children. 

In the general order of nature every year the 
earth is covered by new riches to provide for all 
our needs, the plants grow again, the animals are 

Confidence in God, 



multiplied, the grains and fruits are reproduced. 
This prodigy as admirable as it is constant ; a prod- 
igy which should give us an exalted idea of the 
power of God and fill our hearts with tenderest 
gratitude. But, ungrateful and unfaithful as we 
are, we think only of enjoying the gifts of God, 
without ever thinking of the omnipotent hand 
which has lavished them. 

This prodigy is renewed every day in the special 
order of His providence. God has secret resources 
for those who put their trust in Him. The miracles 
which He employs are not always shining and sen- 
sible miracles, but they are the miracles of a Provi- 
dence as attentive and as admirable as they are 
hidden. We find some just and charitable souls 
who aid the poor, assist the unfortunate, contribute 
to the decorations of the altars, assist in all good 
works, and who, however, are never in need them- 
selves. The more they give, the more they have 
to give, without knowing whence or how the abun- 
dance comes. Everything prospers with them, and 
goods seem to multiply in their hands. Whatever 
they give is as a seed which produces a hundred- 
fold. It is the consequence of their confidence in 
Him whose providence governs everything and 
provides everything. 

This prodigy of power is renewed every day in 
the order of grace. The miracle of the multiplica- 
tion of loaves is the figure of the eucharistic bread. 
In what profusion the Lord has provided for the 
nourishment of our souls? Not only does He give 

■M m^^%^* *? 1^*^ \> 


Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, 

us His grace, but He gives us Himself, who is the 
Author of all grace. If we are in need, if we are 
weak and languishing, the fault is our own. Do 
we need the bread of the strong, or is the bread of 
the strong wanting in strength ? It is we who need 
it ; we are wanting to ourselves, allowing ourselves 
to die of hunger in the midst of abundance, either 
because we refuse to eat of this bread which is of- 
fered us, or because we do not partake of it with the 
necessary dispositions. 

O my God, Thou beholdest all my temporal and 
spiritual needs. Thy goodness is moved by them, 
and Thou wishest to help me ; Thy power is infinite, 
and nothing can resist Thee. In whom shall I hope if 
I do not hope in Thee? Ah, Lord, the more press- 
ing my needs shall be, the more my soul shall 
languish and the greater shall be my confidence in 






N the journey of life you walk between truth and 
falsehood. There are holy prophets who strive 
to direct you in the right pathway ; there are 
also false prophets who seek to seduce you and to 
lead you astray. To avoid these false prophets you 
must know them. This shall be easy for you, since 
you may judge them by their works. " By their 
fruits you shall know them.*' 

First Point,— \\ is in your own heart and in your 
passions that you shall find the false prophets who 
are most to be feared. To those perfidious teachers 
these words of the Saviour are especially appro- 
priate : " They come to you under the appearance 
of lambs, but within they are ravening wolves." 
What flatters us more than a passion? What is 
sweeter to us than its language or more seducing 
than its promises? Should you listen to it, it 
will give you happiness and glory— every thing will 
be yours if you consent to open your heart to it 
and submit to its amiable empire. Thus it is that 
pleasure promises the sweetest joys. Em^zi shows 
us the humiliation of a rival as a most beautiful 
triumph. But if you are wise you will close your 



Seventh Sunday after Pentecost, 

ears to the voices of these sirens, consider their 
effects, and then judge them. 

We read in the Sacred Scriptures that a woman 
named Jahel, beholding Sisara hurriedly departing, 
recalled him by the most flattering words : " Come 
to my house : fear not, for I shall conceal you from 
the search of your enemies/* Sisara returned at 
this invitation and at first was entertained splen- 
didly. Jahel gave him milk to drink and clothed 
him with a beautiful mantle, and he slept in fullest 
confidence. But while he slept this perfidious 
woman drove a large nail in his head, and he per- 
ished a victim to his credulity. And this is what 
the passions do; they promise life, a happy life, to 
those who listen to them, but in reality they are the 
cause of death — at first the death of the soul by 
inducing to sin ; and they often occasion the death 
of the body, for every one knows how pleasures, 
intemperance, impurity, and idleness produce a 
multitude of maladies and infirmities which abridge 
the life of those who indulge in them. 

Sensual pleasures have all the attraction and 
sweetness of honey ; we taste them without suspi- 
cion, and relish their delights; little by little, we 
sleep and forget God, our soul, and eternity. The 
habit of living only a material and sensual life be- 
comes as the nail which binds us to the earth, and we 
are miserably lost. Guard well, therefore, against 
the voice of passions; learn to rule them, otherwise 
you shall become their slave ; and what greater mis- 
fortune can there be than such a slavery ! 

On False Prophets. 




Second Point.— The second kind of false prophet 
you should mistrust is the world, or rather the re- 
spectable worldlings. If you have to deal with men 
who are known as infidels or libertines, you will 
have less to fear, because you wiir be on your 
guard. But the men whom you are to question 
have a reputation for honesty and respectability, 
and it is this very morality which puts aside every 
suspicion. They come to you with a smile on their 
lips, and oh, how charming their language is! It 
has all the sweetness of honey. Youth must have 
its pleasures, and to interdict a young person from 
balls, theatres, and certain books is a species of 
cruelty ! Religion must not exact privations which 
are beyond human strength ! God has not created 
man to make him miserable, and to forbid him the 
pleasures of the world is to rob him of every hap- 
piness ! This is the language of your respectable 
worldly man, this is what he will tell you, and 
such are the false prophets of whom you must be- 
ware. Judge of them by their fruits. And what 
are the effects of those books which your respect- 
able worldling counsels you to read? They exag- 
gerate the imagination, falsify the judgment, place 
the soul outside the limits of truth, and feed it with 
chimeras. Romantic ideas, loss of time, forgetful- 
ness of the most sacred duties, distaste for life, and, 
consequently, suicide— behold the fruits of those 
readings which some shall tell you are innocent! 

With regard to the pleasures of the world, un- 
questionably they are not all equally criminal, but 


Seventh Sunday after Pentecost, 


experience proves how sad, how disastrous they 
are to virtue. Distaste for piety, abandonment of 
prayer, hardness of heart, a spirit of vanity and of 
pride — behold the least consequences of those pleas- 
ures to which the world agrees ! 

The distaste for piety and abandonment of prayer. 
How can we bring to prayer the recollection it re- 
quires on returning from a ball, when the senses 
and imagination are full of excitement from all we 
have seen and heard? 

Hardness of heart. A person in the midst of the 
world, accustomed to the society of happy people, 
never dreams of the sufferings of the poor ; if we be- 
hold misery, we turn our eyes away in disgust ; and, 
besides, vanity absorbs our resources to satisfy the 
demands of style and dress, and we never have any- 
thing to give to the poor. Be on your guard, there- 
fore, against the world, its maxims, its examples, 
and especially its pleasures ; never forget that one 
cannot serve two masters ; you must stand for virtue 
or vanity, for God or the world. 

Third Point,— The third kind of false prophets 
which you should mistrust is composed of all the 
enemies of the Church. Here also the most danger- 
ous are not the unbelievers. They do not come under 
the shepherd's staff, they do not dissemble, and on 
that account it is more easy for you to be on your 
guard against their impious words. Heresy is more 
to be feared because it conceals the poison of error 
under the appearance of truth. It is not inclined 
to show itself such as it is, or to uncover its designs 

On False Prophets. 



and to plainly expose its thoughts. It strives to 
conceal and disguise and hide itself under the staff 
of the faithful shepherd. To hear some speak, you 
would think them the true children of the Church, ^ 
wholly submissive to all her decisions. Equivoca- 
tions are not their least defects. They place the 
Church where it seems good for them, and they 
recognize only those decisions which do not attack 
their errors. They appear to labor only for God, 
they call themselves His envoys, and promise to 
conduct souls to salvation. They support their 
doctrine by a certain regularity of life ; their ex- 
terior is edifying and composed; but under a 
simple garb, under a mortified exterior, they con- 
ceal a spirit of fury and hatred, and carry destruc- 
tion and division everywhere ; they are the raven- 
ing wolves in the midst of the flocks of Jesus 
Christ. But the sheep should fly from them, avoid 
their assemblies, reject their books, and close their 
ears to their misleading discourses. As an excuse 
for your relations with the enemies of your faith, 
you say that you do not indulge in religious dis- 
putes. Now either this is to hold your salvation 
and your religion as worth" but little, or you fail to 
distinguish two things most distinct. Without 
doubt, all the faithful are not obliged to enter into 
the depths of disputed matters between Catholics 
and heretics, but all should be on their guard, lest 
they give their confidence to false prophets, lest 
they follow a false doctrine, a doctrine condemned 
by the Church. This is a precept of Jesus Christ. 


Seventh Sunday after Pentecost. 

If through want of this attention you are seduced 
or led astray, you can have no excuse. To say also 
that we should not judge any one is to misconstrue 
the words of Jesus, and to forget that in the same 
chapter where He forbids us to judge He com- 
mands us to be most attentive and watchful. 

O my God, how many false doctors strive to mis- 
lead me, by preaching to me a doctrine and maxims 
which are contrary to Thy doctrine and Thy max- 
ims. Save me. Lord, from the pitfalls which sur- 
round my pathway, and do not permit that I should 
ever cease to hear Thy commandments. Thou who 
art the Way, the Truth, and the Life. 



THERE are few narratives in the Gospel which 
are so replete with useful instructions as the 
• • • parable of the unjust steward. Reflect oh 
these most interesting circumstances, and strive to 
profit by the lessons which they contain. 

A rich man had a steward. This rich man is 
God, and He alone merits this title truly, because 
He only disposes of all goods, since He is Sover- 
eign and Master of all. The rich of the world are 
not rich except by Him; if men have science, 
wealth, virtue, or beauty, they possess all these 
goods from His liberality. Besides, these borrowed 
riches may disappear in one moment or another; 
their loss may be occasioned by some disgrace, an 
illness, or a reverse of fortune ; while, on the con- 
trary, God is free from all reverses, all accidents, 
and from every inconstancy. 

This man had a steward. We are all the stew- 
ards of God, and to all He has confided goods 
which we should improve. There are goods in the 
order of nature, and goods in the order of grace. 
Everything has been confided to us as a trust 
which we must render fruitful for our Master. In- 
telligence and genius come from God; we must 



Eighth Sunday after Pentecost. 

employ them for His glory. The faculty of loving 
is a gift of His heart ; we should direct it towards 
Him who is its principal and its most worthy ob- 
ject. If we have riches, let us strive to employ 
them in doing Him homage and by distributing 
them among the poor, who are His representatives. 
The sacraments, sermons, and holy inspirations 
are the gifts of God. He has lavished them on 
us as to His children, but it is on the condition that 
we make them fructify for His glory by making 
them serve for our sanctification. 

The steward in question here was defamed to 
his master for having badly administered the 
goods which had been confided to him. From 
this learn that God knows everything. He knows 
perfectly those who are faithful and those who 
are not, those who are negligent and those who 
are zealous. Therefore, if He remain silent, if 
He fail to strike the guilty one, understand it well, 
it is not because He has not seen him or has for- 
gotten him, but His patient mercy gives us time to 
think of ourselves and to repair the offences of 
which we are guilty towards Him. When the time 
marked by His justice shall come. He shall call us 
before His tribunal. God calls us all, one after the 
other, a little sooner or later, but He shall call 
all without exception. Though we were concealed 
in an abyss, God need only make a sign, and Death, 
the implacable messenger, shall hasten to strike us 
and to cast us at the feet of our Judge. Then our 
examination shall begin. 


The Parable of the Unjust Steward. 243 

What is this I hear of you? A thousand com- 
plaints have reached me and directly accuse you. 
Your conscience groans in its slavery. I have 
given it to you to be your rule, your guide, and 
instead of hearing its voice and walking m its 
light you have stifled its cries, you hold it captive 
in iniquity, and it complains of the violence you 
have done it. The poor, whom you should assist 
according to your means— the poor. My friends and 
your brethren, complain of your neglect and the 
hardness of your heart. The blood of My Son 
whom I have delivered up for you— this blood, 
which you trample under your feet and which you 
despise or which you profane in the sacraments, 
cries for vengeance against you. My ministers 
whom you insult— these men of peace who have 
instructed your infancy, guided your youth, con- 
soled your sorrows— My ministers mourn over 
your sins, the cry of their hearts has reached me. 
Why then are all these complaints? Now render 
an account of your administration. 

O terrible words ! they shall be addressed to us one 
day ; they shall resound in our ears with the sound of 
thunder which suddenly comes to awake us from 
sleep in the middle of the still night. O un- 
faithful Christian! you have been born of virtu- 
ous parents, in the bosom of the true Church, and, 
consequently in the midst of all graces, and of all 
the means of salvation ; to sustain and to sanctify 
you, you have had the sacraments, instructions, 
good examples, wise counsels, remorse of con- 


Eighth Sunday after Pentecost. 

science— and what profit have you made of all these 
graces? "Give an account of thy stewardship, for 
now thou canst be steward no longer/* 

There shall come a day when God shall take from 
us all His goods, and there shall no longer be grace 
to aid us, nor talents to improve, nor merits to 
acquire. That day has already come for many 
whom you have known, and it shall also come for 
you, and when it shall come and your stewardship 
shall have been taken from you it shall be forever. 
Shall you not draw some practical consequences 
from such a terrible truth ? Shall you live always 
as if this world belonged to you, and as if you were 
never to depart from it? Oh! do not forget that 
you are constantly nearing one of these two alter- 
natives—either an eternity of punishment, if you 
are a sinner, or an eternity of delights, if you have 

been faithful. 

"But what shall I do?" said the unjust steward 
to himself. How shall I escape the evils which 
threaten me ? Then it was that a means was sug- 
gested which was more cunning than equitable, and 
which justified these words of our blessed Lord: 
"The children of this world are wiser in their 
generation than the children of light.'* The 
children of the world are they who think only 
of the present life, and who are occupied only 
with what interests them on earth. The children 
of light are they who kno^v that there is another 
life, who aspire to life eternal, desiring and 
wishing to gain their salvation. You have the 

The Parable of the Unjust Steward. 245 

happiness to be of this number, but compare your 
prudence for eternal things with the prudence of 
the worldly for temporal things, and see how much 
their prudence is superior to yours. 

They are superior in action, they do not fear pain 
or suffering, and it is even one of their principles 
that we obtain nothing without difficulty. They 
spare themselves in nothing — humiliating under- 
takings, prolonged watchings, voyages, fatigues, in 
fact nothing disheartens them. They are superior 
in reflection; they wish to be ignorant of nothing 
which can be useful to them. They study, they 
examine, they search deeply, they consult, they 
ask; their whole mind is concentrated on what 
they desire, and they profit by everything. They 
are superior in their resources; ill success never 
discourages them, and they arrange to withdraw 
from unsuccessful business; then it is that their 
activity and shrewdness are especially manifest. 
There are no means which they do not discover, no 
attempts which they do not make, no resources 
they do not employ ; and when placed in greatest 
disgrace, they have the secret of still finding re- 
sources — witness the unfaithful steward of whom 
our blessed Saviour speaks. Alas ! shall these men 
be so prudent for the earth, and shall we do so 
little for' heaven ? In the matter of salvation we 
would wish that everything were easy, and we 
would abandon success, if to assure it we must 
labor and combat. In our contests for virtue the 
least reverse discourages us, our falls make us de- 

246 Eighth Sunday after Pentecost. 

spair, and instead of thinking of the means to re- 
pair the past and of fortifying ourselves for the 
future, instead of animating us with new ardor and 
of taking new precautions, we are tempted to aban- 
don everything, and we are imprudent enough 
sometimes to do so. 

O my God, should I not blush for my imprudence, 
for my carelessness, for my sloth in a matter where 
there is question of Thy glory and my eternal sal- 
vation ! and when the children of the world are so 
attentive, so prudent, so laborious, and so perse- ^ 
vering to attain their ends? May their conduct be 
always a living lesson to teach me what I should 
do for Thee, and to sustain myself in the difficult 
way of virtue. 



ON seeing the Saviour of the world shed tears 
over Jerusalem, strive to understand under 
• • • what circumstances He shed them and what 
is the object of His tears. 

First Point.— ThQ circumstances under which 
Jesus shed tears. Nothing on the part of Jeru- 
salem seems to justify them, and with regard to 
Himself nothing seems to provoke them. In Jeru- 
salem everything appears to inspire joy, everything 
breathes of happiness. From afar you may see the 
rich palaces, brilliant and lifting their domes to the 
clouds, her splendid temple, and her impregnable 
towers ; you can hear the sound of her joyous pop- 
ulation, and the eye of man perceives nothing there 
which can explain the profound sadness of the Sav- 
iour. But the look of Jesus is not the look of a 
man ; it is the look of a God before whom every- 
thing is unveiled. It pierces the future, it sounds the 
depths of hearts, it judges men and things, not after 
they have appeared, but before they had existence. 
And now behold the mysteries which the eye of 
Jesus discovered in the unfortunate city which pro- 
voked His tears. 

On the Mount of Olives, where He had come to 


Ninth Sunday after Pentecost, 

pour out His soul in prayer, from this lofty sum- 
mit Jesus saw the fearful storm which was already 
gathering over the heads of this guilty people. 
Jerusalem was condemned to perish, and the sen- 
tence was irrevocably pronounced. Titus and Ves- 
pasian, who were to be the terrible executioners, 
appeared before the saddened eyes of Jesus. On 
the very spot where He had received a kind of tri- 
umph, Vespasian shall establish his camp for the 
extermination of the city ; thousands of crosses are 
erected, on which the Jews must expiate their 
crime of Deicide; He perceives the burning of the 
city, the fall of its walls, the flight or the death of 
its inhabitants, the captivity of those who could 
neither fly nor die, the frightful famine which 
would compel mothers to devour their own off- 
spring — the scene of desolation which must ruin 
the proud and unfaithful city was all before His 
eyes. Then it was He wept over it and its misfor- 
tunes. He had predicted it, and He would have 
hindered it; but His Father had pronounced the 
sentence, and He could only weep over the sad fu- 
ture of a city which He had loved so much. 

On the part of Jesus, nothing seems to provoke 
the tears He shed. All Jerusalem carries Him in 
triumph, arid the multitude in its enthusiasm ex- 
claims : " Glory to the Son of David ; blessed is He 
who comes in the name of the Lord!" Some ex- 
tend their garments under His feet, while others 
strew flowers on the streets through which He 
passes. What, then, is the secret of His tears? 

Jesus Weeps Over Jerusalem. 



Why sadness and sorrow at the moment when 
everything calls for happiness and joy? Jesus 
would teach us to restrain ourselves in prosperity 
by the expectation of the evils which may surprise 
us. It is written in our sacred books that joy and 
sorrow meet each other here below, and a day of 
joy may be the precursor of a day of affliction. It 
is not, therefore, necessary for a Christian to allow 
himself to indulge in a delirium of triumph, but it 
is necessary that he should strive to preserve, in 
the most lively and legitimate joy, a certain senti- 
ment of sorrow which becomes a disciple of the 
cross and predisposes him to endure better the in- 
constancy of men and the reverses of fortune. 

"I know well," said a famous orator to the tri- 
bune, " that the Tarpeian rock is close to the Cap- 
itol." One day the celebrated Ugolin, a chief of 
the Guelphs, having accomplished a complete tri- 
umph over a faction of the Gibelines, invited all 
his friends to a banquet. He recalled his recent 
successes, and asked of one of his most devoted 
friends if there was anything wanting to complete 
his happiness. "Yes," answered his friend, "the 
anger of God cannot be far from so great pros- 
perity." He was indeed a prophet without being 
aware of it, for, some time after, Ugolin was con- 
quered and taken prisoner; then he was impris- 
oned in a tower with his two sons and three neph- 
ews, and there they all died of hunger. Who is 
there that can securely count on the delusive' pros- 
perity which comes to us here on earth ? 


Ninth Sunday after Pentecast, 

Second Point, — What is the object of the Saviour*s 
tears? If Jesus weeps, is it not over His approach- 
ing passion and death, since, some days later and 
amid the most bitter sorrows. He consoles the 
holy women who followed Him ? He said : " Daugh- 
ters of Jerusalem, weep not over Me, but weep for 
yourselves and your children." These words clearly 
indicate the object of His tears. It is the blindness 
of the Jewish people — a blindness which was fol- 
lowed by the ruin of their city and the loss of 
souls. To sin is the sad portion of humanity, but 
to persevere in crime and to have no wish to rise 
from that condition is the characteristic of the 
demon. Now Jerusalem, indisposed and laden 
with iniquity, rejects the Physician who had come 
from heaven to heal her; she refuses to know the 
peace which is offered her or Him who visits her. 
How could He restrain His tears when beholding 
such blindness? 

That which increased the sorrow of the Saviour 
was that the unfortunate inhabitants of Jerusalem 
were amusing themselves at the very moment He 
wept over them. Everything in the city was fes- 
tive and rejoicing, although they were on the eve 
of their last misfortune. "If thou hadst known, 
on this day, that which can procure thee peace, the 
day shall come when thine enemies shall surround 
thee and they shall overthrow thee, and they shall 
not leave in thee a stone upon a stone.*' And so 
the tears of Jesus are disinterested, tears so much 
the more bitter because of the sorrows which caused 

Jesus Weeps Over Jerusalem, 


them to flow, because they were shed over a city 
formerly faithful, loved by God, and filled with His 
most signal favors. 

Several cities of Judea must share the same lot 
as Jerusalem; Jesus knew this. However, He 
we^t only for Jerusalem. Ah, it was because it 
was formerly the cherished city of God, and be- 
cause to-day it was the most ungrateful. When 
Jesus wept over the tomb of Lazarus the Jews said : 
"See how He loved him." Why, then, to-day, 
when He weeps over them, do they not say: "See 
how He loves us"? It is because all that is hid- 
den from their eyes and they understand nothing 
of their own history. 

The second object over which Jesus shed tears is 
ourselves. Alas, what a painful similarity to make 
between us and Jerusalem ! And in this similarity 
how many traits of resemblance afflict the heart of 
Our Saviour and should cover us with confusion ! 
As Jerusalem, we have been chosen by God as the 
portion of His inheritance. He has enriched us 
with His graces. At a certain epoch in our life 
we received Him in triumph, and we have prom- 
ised Him an inviolable fidelity. What has be- 
come of our promises? What have we done with 
His graces? Jesus weeps over us, over our inno- 
cence lost, over our promises violated, and over 
the evils which threaten us. To-day are we grate- 
ful, at least for the time in which He visits us? 
It is like the efforts which God makes to bring back 
the lost sheep— the loving searches of the Good 



Ninth Sunday after Pentecost, 

Shepherd — to the fold ; it is like the anxious so- 
licitude of the woman who disturbs everything in 
her house to find the lost drachma. 

God seeks us in two ways : At one time it is His 
love and His grace which call us to prayer which 
has been abandoned for a long time, or He knocks 
gently at our hearts in the assembly of the faith- 
ful. Again, it is Divine Justice which chastises us 
to recall us to the right way, and sends us afflic- 
tions to remove from our eyes the bandage which 
blinds us. Happy is the soul who knows how to 
correspond to the voice of God, whether it sounds 
with severity or whether it calls us with love. 




WE cannot better understand the manner in 
which we should pray than by establishing 
• • • a parallel between the defective prayer of 
the Pharisee and the excellent prayer of the publi- 
can. Let us, therefore, examine the dispositions 

of both. 

First Point.— The dispositions of the Pharisee. 
There were good and bad dispositions in his 
prayer. There was something good in him, be- 
cause he went to the temple to pray. In this he 
imitated the example of Jesus. He did what the 
faithful observers of the law do, and what should 
be done after the example of the apostles and the 
saints. He understood the words of Holy Writ, 
" My house is a house of prayer.** How many men 
are there to-day who pretend to be better than this 
Pharisee and still they do not even do as much as he 
did? And even you, when you go to the temple, 
is it true that you go there to pray? 

The Pharisee gave thanks to God for His bene- 
fits. Jesus also thanked His Father in His prayers. 
This is a duty which the Church is careful to im- 
press on us every day at Mass—" It is right and 

254 Tenth Sunday after Pentecost, 

just to return thanks to God." The Pharisee un- 
derstood the duty of gratitude. How many Chris- 
tians who have been filled with God's choicest 
blessings do not understand this duty? Are you 

of this number? 

The Pharisee was neither a thief, nor an adul- 
terer, nor an unjust man. Consequently, he ob- 
served many of God's commandments — the seventh, 
which says, " Thou shalt not steal ;" the sixth, which 
forbids adultery; in fact, he avoided what is for- 
bidden by all the commandments, viz., injustice. 
In many respects he was not of the number of those 
of whom St. Paul says : " They who do these things 
shall not enter the kingdom of heaven." 

This Pharisee did good works; he fasted two 
days in each week, thereby following the example 
of Jesus, the apostles, and all true Christians. 
He gave alms, paid his tithes on all he possessed, 
and in this imitated Abraham and fulfilled the law 
of Jesus. Where are the Christians, even among 
those who are reputed pious, who do as much as he 
did ? We are obliged to praise and admire all this 
in the Pharisee, but here is what we must blame in 
him and the reason his prayer was rejected: He 
was of the number of those who consider them- 
selves just, rely on themselves, and despise others. 
Spiritual pride, which is the worst of all, blinds the 
Pharisee to such an extent that he no longer re- 
gards himself as a sinner. This it is which corrupts 
all good works in their very essence and makes his 
prayer vicious. He is also guilty in his prayer; he 

The Pharisee and the Publican. 


sees nothing in himself which is reprehensible ; in 
fact, there is nothing for which he may reproach or 
accuse himself, and he regards himself as entirely 
innocent. It is said, however, that "the just man 
first accuses himself." David conjured the Lord to 
pardon him for his hidden faults, and has not St. 
Paul spoken these words: "Although I do not feel 
guilty of anything, still I am not justified for 

The Pharisee, under the very eye of God, enu- 
merated his good works, not to refer them to the 
Author of every good, but to take pride in them. 
Instead of saying, "That which I am, I am by the 
grace of God," he refers all his good qualities to 
himself; he exaggerates and esteems them far more 
than they are really worth, and, under the veil of 
his presumptuous pride, it is not God whom he 
thanks, but himself. 

The Pharisee commits a third fault by comparing 
himself with the publican, to despise him. By 
what right does he exalt himself the judge of his 
neighbor? St. Paul has said: "It is why, Oman, 
you are inexcusable if you judge others ; for in 
judging others you condemn yourself, since you do 
that which you condemn in them." 

It was not enough for the Pharisee to exalt him- 
self above the publican, but in his pride he ex- 
alted himself above all men. " Lord, I thank Thee 
that I am not as the rest of men." With such dis- 
positions, is it surprising that his good works were 
sterile, his piety rejected, and that he returned to 

2s6 Tenth Sunday after Pentecost. 

his house without being justified ! Is it not written : 
" God resists the proud and gives His grace to the 

humble**? . . .i- 

Second Point.-T\ie dispositions of the publican. 

In the prayer of the publican there is much to 
praise and nothing to blame. And first remark 
his profound humility. He remains as far as he 
can away from the altar, and there accuses himself 
before God. At the sorrowful sight of his faults, 
he does not dare to approach nea/the sanctuary ; 
he considers himself unworthy to appear in the 
presence of the Lord, he is so convinced of his un- 
worthiness. Accustom yourself to modesty, and do 
not strive to obtain preference; here on earth, the 
last place is the best. The divine Master has said: 
" Whosoever humbles himself shall be exalted." 

While the Pharisee was standing erect with his 
eyes raised to the altar, the poor publican, ashamed 
and humiliated at his criminal life, trembles in the 
presence of the Lord and Judge and dares not to 
lift his eyes to heaven. You are also a sinner; 
therefore imitate a repentant sinner. As the publi- 
can, be penetrated by a salutary shame at the re- 
membrance of your faults, and as he entertain a 
holy respect in presence of the God whom you have 
offended and who shall one day be your Judge. 

Admire, in the second place, the publican's spirit 
of penance. He strikes his breast, and by this ac- 
tion he loudly confesses that he has merited the 
chastisements of God. He strikes his own breast 
because he accuses himself, without striving to cast 

The Pharisee and the Publican. 


his faults on another. You also have sinned, and 
by your sin you have incurred the enmity of God. 
Do you wish to obtain pardon ? Strike your breast 
also, and, humbly at the knees of the priest in the 
tribunal of penance, do not fear to say: "It is 
through my fault, through my fault, it is through 
my great fault that I have sinned by thought and 
word and deed and omission.*' 

The humble publican adds to this exterior act a 
prayer which comes from a heart which is truly 
contrite: "Lord, be merciful to me a sinner!** 
Thus it is he speaks to God, and not to himself, as 
the Pharisee did ; he does not enumerate his good 
works with complacency ; he only accuses himself, 
avows himself a sinner, and asks for mercy and 
pardon. When you are before God do not rely on 
your good works and your merits to attract His 
graces, but recall and tell Him, in the bitterness of 
your heart, all your sorrows and faults. Let your 
lips frequently repeat the humble prayer of the 
publican: "Lord, be merciful to me a sinner!'* 
and then there shall flow from your eyes those 
tears of penance which shall merit for you grace and 

And now make an examination of your own con- 
duct. Indeed, you detest the culpable conduct and 
the haughty hypocrisy of the Pharisee, but have 
you been careful to avoid it in your own life ? As 
he, you are, perhaps, exempt from the gross vices; 
in your conduct, as in his, we may see evidences of 
good works ; but are you wholly exempt from pride, 


Tejith Sunday after Pentecost. 

envy, ambition, and those other spiritual vices, 
with which the heart of this presumptuous man was 
filled? Put away all such sentiments, which are 
so unworthy of a Christian, and strive to imitate 
the example of the poor publican ! Pray as he did, 
in the church and out of it. with the same humil- 
ity, the same fervor, and then rest assured that 
your prayers shall be heard always. 

» 9 



CPIRITUAL deafness is the malady of those who 
refuse to hear what is useful for their salva- 
• • • tion, as the word of God, remorse of con- 
science, and the inspirations of grace. They who 
are spiritually dumb never speak when they should ; 
they neither confess their sins nor pray ; they are 
indifferent to the interests of God and the interests 
of their neighbor. This deafness and dumbness 
are the vices which, ordinarily, lead to final impeni- 
tence. But, on the other hand, there are a deafness 
and dumbness which are really virtues. Let us 
strive to acquire these virtues by responding to 
these two questions: When should we be deaf? 
and. When should we be dumb? 

First Point, — When should we be deaf? Faith 
teaches us that the ears as well as the eyes are the 
doors by which the demon and sin enter the soul 
to destroy it. A Christian should, therefore, know 
how to close them to everything which could be in- 
jurious to his eternal interests — to the suggestions 
of the demon, to the licentious words of the world, 
and to falsehood and injuries. 

Learn to close your ears against the suggestions 
of the demon. That which he did to ruin our first 


Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost, 

parents he strives to do every day, viz., to destroy 
us. He does this in two ways. He perverts or re- 
viles the commandments, raises objections against 
them, alleges pretexts for violating them, and 
drives the thought of God and the fear of His 
judgments far from us. When the demon cannot 
break the law by a false interpretation of it, he 
presents vice and sin under the most flattering ap- 
pearances, and he promises happiness as the reward 
of our degradation. "You shall be as gods,'' he 
said to Eve, "knowing good and evil.*' And when 
showing our divine Saviour the wealth of the 
world, did he not say: "I shall give you all that, 
if you shall adore me"? To such vile suggestions 
oppose the strictest deafness ; to listen to him for 
an instant is to assure him a complete victory. 

Close your ears to the immoral discourses of the 
worldly ; the sweeter the words, the more perfidy 
they conceal. The fable recounts that the wise 
Ulysses bound himself to the mast of his vessel and 
closed his ears to guard himself against the songs 
of, the sirens and to hinder himself from being 
drawn to them. Act with the same prudence and 
the same mistrust of yourself against the enchant- 
ment of vice ; it seeks to charm and destroy you by 
its impious and shameful words, by its bad books 
and corrupting songs, by its deceitful pleasures or 

sad rewards. 

Bind yourself strongly to the Church, the divine 
vessel of which Jesus is the Pilot ; close your ears 
to the language of heretics and their impious words ; 

The Deaf Mute. 


reject every doctrine and every word which shall 
not be in conformity to the word and teaching of 
the Church, your mother. Close your ears to all 
slander. It is as much your enemy as it is the 
enemy of him whom it blackens. It is your enemy, 
since it seeks to render you an accomplice and to 
compromise your soul in the eyes of God. It is the 
enemy of him whom it disparages, the perfidious 
enemy who strikes the blow in the darkness, who 
accuses one who is absent and so easily condemned, 
because it is impossible to justify himself. Follow, 
therefore, the advice of the wise man : " Close your 
ears with thorns, and listen not to a wicked 

In fine, close your ears to the words of those who 
offend you, and patiently bear with their injuries. 
The pardon of injuries is a most rigorous duty, and 
at the same time the most difficult duty to perform 
of all the evangelical laws. Animate yourself in 
the fulfilment of this duty by the consideration of 
the great blessings which are attached to it. By 
the observance of this law you are promised the 
pardon of your own faults and the certainty of ob- 
taining mercy. " Forgive, and you shall be for- 
given. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall 
obtain mercy." Strengthen yourself in these dis- 
positions by the example of the saints. Saul, 
being still the friend of God, heard the contempt 
and outrage hurled against Him, yet acted as if 
he had not heard them. David also heard of the 
injuries of Semeus, but he considered them as so 


Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost, 

many envoys of God, and forbade that they should 
be avenged. In fine, Jesus, the most perfect of all 
the models, prompts one of His prophets to say of 
Him: "They have outraged Me, but like one who 
is deaf, I do not hear, and as one who is dumb, I 
open not My mouth. " After His example we should 
be deaf to all injuries. 

Second Point, — When should we be silent? There 
is an obligation for us to be silent concerning our 
merits and our virtues, if we think we have any. 
Christian humility demands it, and propriety alone 
imposes silence on us in this regard. What idea 
can we have of a man who so far forgets the rules 
of modesty as to boast of himself and to applaud 
himself for the good he has done, or for the quali- 
ties he may possess? A holy father says, if the 
wise man of the world possess treasures or riches 
he will not proclaim it in the streets, through his 
fear of robbers. And so the Christian should con- 
ceal his virtues under the veil of modesty, through 
fear lest the demon and the world should take them 

from him. 

We should remain silent on the secrets which 
have been confided to us, or which we may have 
discovered ; in either case, we should sin if we di- 
vulged them. If we divulge secrets, we sin against 
charity, which forbids us to do to another what we 
would not wish to be done to ourselves ; and cer- 
tainly we would not wish that one of our secrets 
should be made known, even if it were of the 
slightest importance. If we should make known a 

The Deaf Mute, 


secret which a friend has confided to us in a mo- 
ment of confidence, not only do we sin against the 
sacredness of a secret, but we wound the heart of 
our friend by a betrayal of his confidence ; we are 
guilty of perfidy by employing his friendship as a 
means to injure him. Let us be virtuous enough 
not to seek or provoke the confidences of others, 
and prudent enough not to exercise a kind of curi- 
ous surveillance over the actions of our neighbor, 
and accustom ourselves to be engaged with our 
own affairs and not with the affairs of others ; in 
this way we s'hall secure the esteem of all, and our 
conscience shall be content and happy. 

We should be silent when anger takes possession 
of us. Never speak at such a time ; you shall gain 
a great victory over this terrible passion if in these 
moments of intoxication and folly you are silent 
when you can scarcely speak without offending 
your neighbor, and consequently without offending 
God. The wisest thing you can do is to keep abso- 
lutely silent when you feel your heart agitated by 


Be silent on matters which offend the holy virtue. 
Oh, how many souls have been corrupted and lost 
by impure words and obscene songs ! Let us re- 
member that our lips have been blessed and sanc- 
tified by Baptism, and that they have received a 
holier consecration by communion. The place 
where God has passed should be respected. 

Be silent on the defects and faults of others. 
You are not their judge ; you have not to answer 


Elevc7ith Sunday after Pentecost. 

for them before God. Leave to Him, therefore, 
the care of judging them. What can we conceive 
more horrible than the viperous tongues which 
morning and night are employed in defaming some 
neighbor and blasting his reputation? Make it a 
rule to be silent concerning others, at least when 
nothing good may be said of them. 

My God, place Thy fear, as a seal, on my mouth 
and on my ears, that I may never use them except 
for the interests of Thy glory and my salvation. 



^HE parable of the good Samaritan is replete 
with practical instructions. In the unfortu- 
• • • nate man who has fallen into the hands of 
robbers, stripped, beaten, and half dead, we behold 
the image of the soul which has fallen into the 
hands of the demon through sin; and in the good 
Samaritan we see the image of Jesus, who has come 
on earth to heal sinners. Therefore meditate on 
these two phases of the parable— the miserable 
state of the sinner, and the unspeakable mercy of 

First Point.— This man who goes down from 
Jerusalem, the holy city, to Jericho, the profane 
city, is the image of him who departs from God to 
give himself to the creature. He is the image of 
the sinner who descends from the high estate to 
which grace had exalted him, and who falls into 
the deep degradation of sin. Oh, how grand in 
the eyes of God and the angels is the beauty of a 
soul in the state of grace ! This beauty escapes the 
eyes of men, but God looks lovingly upon it, and 
calls that soul by the sweetest terms—" My dove, 
my beautiful one, my friend." The Holy Spirit,' 
whose spouse she is, depicts her by the most gra- 

— '" ■- ' ' "-'■■ 


Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost, 


cious images; she is a young tree, planted on the 
banks of running waters ; a lily, whose beauty ri- 
vals Solomon in all his splendor and glory ; a dove, 
dazzling by the whiteness of its plumage. But 
once let her sin, the glory and beauty are lost and 
she becomes an object of disgust in the eyes of her 


This man is also the image of the infidel, who de- 
scends from the high mountain of faith to bury him- 
self in the depths of doubt. The human intelligence 
soars above the earth, borne on the wings of faith 
and instructed by its light ; not only does she know 
her origin and her destiny, but she arises even to 
God, and regards even the immeasurable depths of 
the infinite. She reposes on truth, between hope 
and love; she enjoys and triumphs. Incredulity 
casts uncertainty into the intelligence, snatches 
hope and love from the heart, and delivers man up 
to all the agonies of doubt. 

This man is also your image. He is like you, 
who have abandoned piety and virtue for vanity 
and the passions. Alas, how you have fallen ! Once 
you ruled your passions with the angels, you wor- 
shipped Him whose purity you possessed ; the vir- 
tue which adorned your heart gave you a mysteri- 
ous ascendancy which excited the envy of some and 
compelled the admiration of others, and made you 
loved by every one. But now you are a slave, and 
sin has robbed you of your crown and your glory. 

This man fell into the hands of robbers, who 
stripped him and left him covered with wounds 

The Good Samaritan, 


and half dead. By quitting God and virtue we fall 
into the hands of the demon and the passions, 
whose unhappy slaves we become. Without doubt, 
it is not by the shame of slavery that the demon 
and the passions call you when they solicit you to 
evil, but it is by holding out a sweet independence 
and the most legitimate joys. Oh, fatal and cruel 
illusion! These perfidious enemies begin by de- 
spoiling you of your goods. They take from you 
your innocence, and with it peace of heart; they 
take away sanctifying grace, and with it your 
beauty and your titles of nobility; they rob you 
of the holy liberty of the children of God by mak- 
ing you slaves of shameful desires ; they take from 
you your right to heaven, and give you instead 
hell for your final destiny. They cause you to lose 
the merits of all the good works which have en- 
riched the past years of your life, and place you in 
the impossibility of henceforth doing any work 
meritorious in the sight of God. What nakedness 
and what misery ! 

Nor is it enough to strip the slave of his cloth- 
ing, but the demon wounds him in all the faculties 
of his soul. Under the sway of passions, the intel- 
ligence is weakened, memory is dulled, the most 
beautiful instincts are perverted, the heart is hard- 
ened in evil, and only too often health itself is 
ruined and the most splendid fortunes are swal- 
lowed up. 

And after this ruin what becomes of the sinner? 
His executioners leave him half dead. Cruel truth ! 


Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost. 

when a soul has lost her faith and innocence the 
world abandons her and covers her with contempt. 
Unfortunate soul! she is more dead than alive, 
since she has lost grace, which is the source of 
spiritual life. And even after she has recovered 
grace by penance, she still preserves a certain 
weakness, which is at once the consequence and 
the expiation of her first faults. O my God, how 
can I recall the sad effects of sin and again consent 
to commit it? 

. Second Point, — The mercy of Jesus for us. God 
/has not abandoned sinful man. The Son of God was 
Woved to pity at the sight of our miseries, and what 
'has He done to heal our wounds? He has become 
man. Jesus is the good Samaritan on His journey, 
who comes near to the wounded man and takes 
compassion on him. Alas! sin had separated us 
from God so wonderfully far that if God Himself 
had not come to us never should we have been 
able to return to Him. By the mystery of the In- 
carnation the Son of God took the first step towards 
our poor nature; He found it stripped of all its 
prerogatives, wounded in its intelligence and will, 
deprived of its supernatural life of grace, and con- 
demned to eternal death. To devote Himself to 
the salvation of our souls was the first act of His 


He instituted the sacraments. These are the 
sovereign remedies of our souls with which He has 
surrounded us. Baptism is the sacred bath in 
which our souls are cleansed and purified ; the soul 

The Good Saniaritcui, 


draws from it a new life and a second birth more 
glorious than the first. The Eucharist pours out 
upon our heart the wine which strengthens it; it 
gives us the energy necessary to resist concupis- 
cence and to triumph over our passions. In Con- 
firmation the divine Samaritan spreads on our soul 
the holy oil which soothes and makes it easy for 
our will to accomplish whatever is painful in the 
practice of good. In the tribunal of Penance He 
pours out on our wounded and sin-laden hearts the 
balm which consoles, purifies, and heals. Can you 
ever worthily recognize such an excess of love? 

The Samaritan descends from his beast and puts 
the poor wounded man in his place. This is a 
striking image of the Redemption wrought on Cal- 
vary. By substituting Himself in our place, Jesus 
has taken on Himself all our iniquities and all our 
miseries. By extending Himself on the cross He 
has suffered for all our wounds, and by dying for 
us He has opened heaven for us, which is the dwell- 
ing of His Father. 

But the final trait of God*s mercy for us is the 
institution of His Church. The Samaritan con- 
ducted his wounded guest to the inn, where he took 
care of him ; on the following day he paid all the 
expenses. The inn in which wounded souls re- 
ceive aid and assistance is the Church. There the 
intelligence finds truth in a sublime teaching, 
wounded hearts find assistance in grace, and all 
unfortunates find a solace in the sweetest conso- 


Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost, 

O Jesus, divine Samaritan, I am that traveller 
whom the robbers have stripped, wounded, and 
left half dead on the roadway of life ; Thou hast 
had pity on me, Thou hast placed me in Thy 
Church, in the midst of the abundance of grace. 
Do not permit that I should be ungrateful enough 
to forget Thy blessings, but crown all Thy graces 
by giving me the strength to profit by them. 


1 1 



AS these ten unfortunates of whom the Gospel 
speaks to-day, leprosy stains you also if you 
• • ' are a sinner and your soul is disfigured in the 
sight of God. Your healing shall be assured, as 
was theirs, if you know as well as they how to 
profit by the passing of Jesus. Then take them 
for your models, and while reviewing the different 
circumstances which accompanied their healing, 
learn on what conditions you shall obtain your 

First Point, — Prayer is the first condition to be 
healed from the leprosy of sin. God sometimes 
acts towards the sinner in a manner truly royal. 
He enlightens his mind, touches his heart, and con- 
verts him by an immediate grace without any con- 
dition on the part of the sinner, as He did with St. 
Paul on the way to Damascus. But ordinarily it 
is by prayer we attain to grace, and the first condi- 
tion to be converted is to ask and obtain this grace. 
You have a beautiful instance of this in the Gospel 
narrative concerning the ten lepers. See with 
what humility and with what fervor they implore 
their healing. They do not come to ask for their 


Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost. 

restoration to health singly ; each one feels his un- 
worthiness too much to hope to obtain it if he is 
alone ; they therefore unite to give by their union 
greater force to their prayer, and together they 
conjure the Lord to have pity on them. 

Nor do we see them approach the divine Master 
with too much familiarity and imperiously demand 
that their request be complied with. They remain 
at a distance, contenting themselves by uttering 
loud cries to attract the Saviour's attention and to 
win His pity — "Jesus, Teacher, have pity on us." 
The first disposition we observe in the conduct 
of the lepers is a respectful humility. This is also 
the sentiment which should rule all others when 
we are in the presence of God . Alas ! who are we 
before Thee, O God of sanctity, if not unworthy 
lepers ! Our whole life is only a sequence of shame- 
ful weaknesses, and how shall we dare to approach 
Thee without trembling and with souls which are 
stained by so many faults? 

As soon as the lepers saw that Jesus was within 
sound of their voices they began to cry aloud. They 
cried aloud because they were far from Him, and. 
they feared lest they should lose such a splendid 
opportunity. And so, when you feel that you are 
far from God and slothful and dissipated, raise 
your voice and cry to Him. That is not the time 
to relax your exercises of piety, or to cease your 
prayers ; but it is, on the contrary, the time to pro- 
long them, and to pray more ardently. Ah, if you 
could understand the misfortune of being separated 

The Ten Lepers, 


from God, with what ardor would you ask for His 
love, what zeal would you bring to the fulfilment 
of all your duties ! 

Second Point.— "lo the humble and fervent pray- 
ers of the lepers, Jesus answers in words of mercy : 
" Go, show yourselves to the priests." The work of 
conversion obtained by prayer is completed in the 
sacraments of which the priests are the only min- 
isters. Without doubt Jesus could heal these 
unfortunate men without imposing on them the con- 
dition of showing themselves to the priests. He 
could also reconcile sinners and pardon them with- 
out the intermediary of His Church, but He did not 
do-^o except in rare instances, and then the desire 
to receive the sacraments was necessary. The 
rigorous condition is to go and present ourselves to 
the priest. Our healing and consequently our 
salvation are attached to our docility in the fulfil- 
ment of this obligation. 

There are those who prefer those other words of 
the divine Master: "Come to Me, all you that suf- 
fer." They regret that Jesus has placed some inter- 
mediaries between Him and sinners. On this sub- 
ject listen to the teaching of St. Paul : " When Jesus 
was on earth," He permitted sinners, publicans, 
and the sick to approach His sacred person, and He 
healed them ; but now that His mission is accom- 
plished, now that His blood has been shed drop 
by drop, sinners cannot hope to treat with Jesus 
personally. To conciliate His justice with His 
love, Jesus has appointed the priests as mediators 


Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost, 


between Him and the guilty. He has made 
them His ambassadors, He has given to them 
the power, and it is from them that sinners must 
expect their reconciliation. " He has placed in us 
the word of reconciliation.'* 

If, then, the leprosy of sin has disfigured your 
soul, the remedy is easy. " Go, show yourself to the 
priest," uncover to him the hidden wound which sin 
has made in you ; it shall be quickly closed and you 
shall find peace and life. What is there to hinder 
you? Is it the magnitude of your crimes? They 
can never be as great as His mercy. Is it shame? 
No one should be ashamed to confess his faults. 
The free and generous avowal of a crime not only 
repairs it, but exalts us before God to the very level 
of innocence. Is it fear? Of whom are you afraid? 
Are you afraid of the world ? And what is the judg- 
ment of the world to you? Would you, by chance, 
sacrifice your soul for the world? Is it the fear of 
your confessor? Ah, how poorly you know the 
spirit with which the minister of Christ is clothed ! 
You shall find him a father rather than a judge ; 
his lips speak no blame, they know only how to 
bless you. Go, then, with confidence; once this 
first step is taken, you shall see all difiiculties 
smoothed away. But go to him with docility! 
Jesus says to the lepers, "Go to the priests,** and 
they depart without murmuring, without raising 
the slightest objection, and their submission is re- 
warded by their complete healing. This result is 
infallible in favor of all who know how to bring to 

The Ten Lepers, 


the reception of the Sacrament of Penance the dis- 
positions it requires. 

Third Point. — "One of them when he saw that 
he was made clean, went back with a loud voice 
glorifying God, and he fell on his face before His 
feet, giving thanks; and this was a Samaritan." 
What astonishes and at the same time humiliates us 
is that, of the ten lepers who experienced the bounty 
of the Saviour, only one returns to manifest his 
gratitude, and moreover the Gospel is careful to 
tell us that this one was a Samaritan. And so, too 
often, souls whom we believe lost, men who are 
strangers to faith, hopeless sinners, manifest for 
God more gratitude, more fervor, more love than 
we who boast of our fidelity, and boast also that we 
have never wearied in the ways of virtue. Whence 
comes this inexplicable carelessness? Alas, we 
have become familiarized with the most precious 
graces, accustomed to the wonders of God's love, 
enriched by His benefits, and we have grown in- 
sensible to them all. It is by the blood of Jesus 
that we shall recover health and life, and out of 
ten there is hardly one who is found grateful. 
And thus the heart of Jesus bitterly complains: 
" Were not ten made clean ? . . . There is no one 
found to return and give glory to God, but this 


To recompense this fidelity, Jesus adds a new 
grace to the first. He said to him: "Arise, . . . thy 
faith hath made thee whole.** He had said to the 
others: "Go, show yourselves to the priests, and 


Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost. 

you shall be healed ;" but He said to this one : " Thy 
faith hath made thee whole." 

But was not faith the cause of healing all the 
others ? Unquestionably ; but Jesus wished to estab- 
lish a distinction between physical healing and 
salvation. Ten are healed, but only one is healed 
and saved, because he only had shown gratitude. 
Thus a good confession can heal your soul, but it 
does not suffice to assure your salvation. We must 
return to Jesus in gratitude and remain faithful to 
Him by persevering in His love. It is on this con- 
dition that you shall merit to hear these welcome 
words: "Arise, . . . thy faith hath made thee 






\A/HEN Jesus invites us to consider the lilies 
of the field and the birds of heaven, there 
. . . must be useful lessons to learn from them. 
Therefore let us strive to understand and seek to 
know, then, first, what the lilies of the field teach 
you; second, what the birds of the air also teach. 

First Point, — What the lilies teach. The lily is 
a beautiful but fragile flower ; to-day it blooms in 
freshness, to-morrow it shall be withered and dead. 
This is your picture. Your body is as the grass, 
and all its glory is as the flower of the fields. 
Isaias tells you : " The grass has withered and the 
flower has fallen, because the Lord has breathed 
upon it.*' All that is about you, all that is in you 
except your soul, is like to the lily of the field, 
which to-day is alive and to-morrow is dead. You 
should not, therefore, count on the world which 
passes, on man who passes, on youth which passes, 
on beauty which passes, on science which passes — 
for what trust can we give to that which is only 
transitory ? 

The beautiful appearance of the lily is the image 
of riches here on earth below ; the rich ornaments 


Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost, 

''Behold the Lilies of the Fields 


quickly perish. St. James says: "Riches shall 
pass away as the flower of the field. The sun rises 
burning and the grass is parched, and the flower 
has fallen with all its beauty, and thus the rich man 
shall wither in his journey.** In fact, are not riches 
destroyed by fire, by shipwreck, and carried off by 
thieves, or, at last, by death? Flowers, however 
fresh and fragrant they are, however sweet and 
agreeable they are, become bitter and withered. 
And so riches are sweet and agreeable as long as 
we possess them, but how bitter they are at the 
moment of losing them! The flower gladdens your 
eyes for an instant, but it is useless for your life, 
and becomes the food of animals. And so it is with 
riches ; they charm the eyes, but they do not satisfy 
the heart ; and the day comes when strangers or 
ungrateful heirs seize them. They laugh at us 
who have imposed so many privations on ourselves 
to leave them the treasure intact. Hence the wise 
man says: " I have seen under the sun an evil com- 
mon among men ; it is a man filled with riches, hav- 
inof treasures of honors, but who has not had an 
opportunity of enjoying them ; a stranger has come 
to enjoy them in his place." And then he adds: 
" Behold a great sorrow." 

The lily teaches you to put all your confidence 
in God. The Saviour of the world says : " God has 
planted the lilies of the field ; He has watered them, 
preserved them, and adorned them more magnifi- 
cently than Solomon was in all his glory. Now if 
God has taken so much care to clothe and adorn a 

simple flower, how much more shall He care for 
man, who is the masterpiece of His hands and the 
king of this material creation?" Therefore have 
confidence in the providence of your heavenly 


Jesus, while speaking of the lilies of the field, 
says that which should serve to humiliate us 
immensely. You who have been watered by the 
abundance of His grace, and cultivated with so 
much solicitude, make such little progress in virtue. 
"See how they grow." Under the light and the 
dews of heaven the lily grows and each day be- 
comes more beautiful, while you, instructed by the 
admirable lights of the Gospel, the soul made fruit- 
ful by the dews of grace, you should grow every day 
in virtue, constantly arising from this miserable 
earth to heaven, which is your true country. Do 
you do so? Can it be said of you: "See how they 

grow"? . 

Lilies are the ornament of the places in which 
they grow. You should be the ornament of the 
Church in whose bosom you live ; you should shine 
in the world by your virtues. You should be pure 
as the lily and arise towards heaven as the lily, 
and as the lily give forth a sweet perfume— the 
perfume of virtue ; you should heal by your good 
example and soothe by your sweet words the spir- 
itual evils of certain hearts, as the lily heals and 
solaces some wounds of the body. When, there- 
fore, you see the lilies of the field, consider them ; 
reflect on the lessons they teach, and strive to be- 


280 Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost. 

come in the eyes of God and your neighbor a lily 
without stain, embalmed with the perfumes of vir- 
tue, and then you can spread about you the good 
odor of j Jesus. 

Secon^ Point. — What do the birds of heaven teach 
us? They teach us to abandon ourselves wholly to 
Providence with the most filial confidence. See 
those little beings whom Providence provides for 
in millions. They neither sow, nor reap, nor 
gather into barns; and yet they live — the heavenly 
Father nourishes them. They have confidence in 
God, and are not anxious, except in moderation, 
concerning their food. They are the poor for whom 
Providence provides; they live from day to day, 
and still no one is richer than they are. They 
make no provisions for the winter, as some other 
animals do, but rely on God, and He has never 
failed them. It is our divine Saviour Himself who 
proposes this example for us, to engage us to put 
aside all solicitude and anxiety for the future ; and 
also to excite us to place in God our fullest confi- 
dence. He adds: "Are you not of more value than 

The birds also teach us to raise our thoughts to 
heaven and to live a supernatural and heavenly 
life. Consider that the birds for the most part 
spend a great part of their life in the regions of 
heaven ; they descend on earth only to find their 
food ; they then fly back again to chant the glory 
of their Creator. And we also should have our 
hearts on high; our thoughts and our desires 


" Behold the Lilies of the Field, " 


should tend constantly to heaven, our souls should 
habitually arise to God on wings of prayer and 
faith. Oh, how beautiful and happy our life would 
be if /We knew, as the birds of heaven, how to live 
a life wholly celestial even while we are upon 
earth ! to sing the praises of God even while watch- 
ing over our temporal interests ! Then we should 
use the thin'gs of the world " as if we used them 
not.'* This detachment is most suitable for beings 
who have been created for heaven, where they ex- 
pect an eternity of happiness, and not for this 
earth, where everything is perishable. 

Begin, therefore, to cultivate sentiments which 
are truly Christian ; place your fullest confidence in 
God, who clothes the lily of the field with so much 
glory and who gives so abundantly the food for the 
birds of heaven. Do not forget that you are hon- 
ored by the title of the child of God, you are pur- 
chased by the blood of the Son of God, you are 
destined to possess God in heaven, and, conse- 
quently, that you are of more value than all the 
flowers of the field, all the birds of heaven — yes, 
you are of greater worth than the whole world. * It 
is to recall your noble destiny that Jesus wishes 
you while praying to say : " Our Father who art in 
heaven.'* It is also to afford you an opportunity 
of meriting reward that God gives you clothing and 
food and health and life. Be grateful therefore 
for all these gifts, and testify your gratitude by a 
holy life — by a life worthy of the heaven which 
awaits you. 


THE widow's son RESTORED TO LIFE. 

IN the resurrection of the widow's son we should 
consider what grace does for sinners, and what 
• the sinner should do to correspond with this 

First Point. — What grace does for sinners. This 
young man, whom death has taken in the very 
flower of his age, is the image of so many young 
persons who are deprived of sanctifying grace by 
sin and whose spiritual death is more terrible than 
that which merely destroys the life of the body. 
This desolate mother who accompanies to its last 
dwelling-place the inanimate body of her son is 
the Church; she is our mother; since she has be- 
gotten us in Christ in our infancy she has nour- 
ished us by her first lessons, and she does not 
cease to instruct and exhort us, and she labors un- 
tiringly to make us grow in virtue and in piety. 
This tender mother follows with her tears all her 
unfortunate children whom the sad stroke of sin 
has robbed of the life of grace. And even when 
all hope seems lost she does not abandon them ; she 
asks them again from Jesus by her sighs and tears. 
Touched by her sorrow, Jesus is moved at the sad 

The Widow's Son Restored to Life, 


condition of an unfortunate sinner whom the pas- 
sions conduct to hell. 

Jesus drew near. This is the first condition of a 
return to God and virtue. Unhappy beings as we 
are by our own depraved will, we can indeed go far 
from God and hasten to our destruction; but to 
leave the ways of iniquity, or even to desire to do it, 
is the effect of grace. How good God is ! Insulted 
and outraged by sinners. He had no need to avenge 
Himself, but merely to abandon them to them- 
selves. Still He does not wish to do so. He selects 
them, pursues them, and urges them to return to 
Him and save themselves. " He drew near and 
touched the bier.*' Thus it is that Jesus touches the 
sinner by the good sentiments with which He in- 
spires him, He disturbs him by remorse. He enlight- 
ens him by good counsels, He encourages him by 
holy examples. He terrifies him by the fear of death 
and by the judgment which follows. 

By this secret touch of grace conscience is 
awakened as if from a long sleep, and the passions 
which were dragging him down are arrested. The 
sinner begins to find pleasures not so pleasant and 
the world not so lovable ; he stops short in the midst 
of the excitement which carries him away. This is 
the moment when grace is at work ; it is the moment 
when she may make her voice heard. Alas, as long 
as the sinner is dissipated by pleasures, preoccupied 
by human interests, absorbed by business, he sins 
and he perseveres in his sin. This terrible indiffer- 
ence can be explained only by a want of reflection ; 


Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost. 

but at the moment he reflects he is saved. The 
prodigal child perceived neither his ingratitude, 
nor his degradation, nor the rags which covered 
him, as long as he was absorbed by pleasures ; but 
it was in his misfortune that he reflected, and that 
one inward glance sufficed to reveal to him all his 
shame and to lead him back to his father. And 
so it is with the sinful soul : hardly has she been 
arrested, hardly has she looked upon herself than 
Jesus makes her hear His voice, which shall recall 
her as it recalled the young man from death in the 
city of Naim — "Young man, I say to thee, arise.'* 

Young man, you who are meditating on these 
words, you are only on the threshold of your ca- 
reer. You may think that you are proof against 
the stroke of death ; the world tells you to take ad- 
vantage of your youth, to crown yourself with roses 
while they are fresh and in bloom ; but the world 
deceives you. This young man whom they carried 
to the tomb was as young as you. The funeral 
cortege which accompanied him proves that he was 
rich. He was as you are — the idol of his mother, 
the only son, but nothing could guarantee hiip 
from death. To you, as to him, Jesus speaks these 
words: "I, thy Master, command you to arise from 
sin and to break the bonds which hold you in 
slavery. I say to thee, arise!** May you be docile 
to this voice, which calls you to life by recalling you 
to virtue. 

Second Poifit, — What the sinner should do to cor- 
respond with grace. The first thing which the 

The Widow's Son Restored to Life, 


young man does when he feels himself restored is 
to arise in obedience to the command his Liberator 
has given him. This promptitude to correspond 
with grace as soon as it is felt is one of the most 
essential conditions of conversion. Everything is 
possible to the will when it is excited by grace, en- 
lightened by its light, and inflamed by the holy 
ardor which the divine Spirit spreads in it when He 
communicates Himself to it. Then the strongest 
bonds are easily broken ; remember Magdalen at 
the feet of Jesus. The greatest obstacles are over- 
come by the wise men journeying far to follow the 
star which leads them to Bethlehem. The most 
violent passions are conquered. St. Paul becomes 
a vessel of election, after having been the most 
ardent persecutor ! 

Now, why are so many sermons sterile and un- 
fruitful ? Why do so many graces remain unprofit- 
able? Is it because the preachers are wanting in 
eloquence? No. There are indeed some truths 
which require to be presented in a certain manner 
to strike some souls ; but is there need of having 
recourse to the artifices of eloquence to tell you 
that you must die, that you shall be judged, that 
there are a hell and an eternity? Is it because 
hearts are too hardened? Not a year passes that 
some sinners are not touched and their hearts 
moved, and yet very few are converted. And why? 
Because very few profit by the moment of grace. 
They hesitate, they defer, they put off — the light 
disappears, grace is withdrawn, and they remain 


Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost. 

irresolute and in their weakness. They are doubly 
unfortunate men, because they conceive the most 
generous projects and cannot attain the point of 
realizing them. 

The Evangelist observes that the young man 
after his restoration began to speak. Of course his 
first words were the expressions of his gratitude, 
the declaration of his resurrection, and the request 
to those who carried him to set him free. Such 
should be the language of the sinner whom Divine 
Mercy deigns to withdraw from the state of death 
in which he had been plunged. Penetrated by the 
immense benefit which he had so little merited, he 
should from the bottom of his heart return grateful 
thanksgiving to his Benefactor. But this is not 
enough. He should put away and reject far from 
him all that which hitherto, by leading him into 
sin, conducted him to hell. Occasions, habits, af- 
fections—he must quit them all. In fine, he is 
obliged to manifest his resurrection by the splen- 
dor of his virtues. The greater the scandal of his 
sinful life, the greater should be the edification of 

his new life. 

Jesus crowns His work by restoring the young 
man to his mother. You may judge by the tears 
she shed over this cherished son what was her care 
to preserve for him the life he had just recovered 
by removing the cause which occasioned its loss. 
Jesus likewise confides to the Church those whom 
He has drawn from spiritual death, and this tender 
mother surrounds them by her care. She instructs 

The Widozv's Son Restored to Life, 


them by her lessons, sustains them by her exhorta- 
tions, strengthens them by her sacraments, and 
hinders them from falling again into death. If 
ever you have the misfortune of losing the life of 
grace, do not despair; but be generous in your cor- 
respondence to the goodness of God when He shall 
recall you to Him. 






UR divine Saviour allowed no occasion to pass 
by without extolling humility ; and it must be 
• • • admitted that it is the base, the foundation 
of all the other virtues. We shall consider it to- 
day in its different kinds and in its object. 

First Point,— The different kinds of humility. 
The first is the humility of the heart. It consists 
in voluntarily embracing the practices of humility ; 
in not taking offence at calumnies; in not being 
angered by humiliations; and in not being offended 
by injuries. It goes even farther in the most fer- 
vent Christians. We have seen the saints desire 
to be humiliated, to cherish affronts, and to re- 
joice at being contemned and despised. St. John 
of the Cross asked of Our Lord but one grace, viz., 
to suffer and to be despised for His love. Alas! 
how far you are from these sentiments, you who 
are so sensitive to an injury, so particular about 
preferences, and so susceptible when your self-love 
is wounded! Do not forget that self-love is the 
principle of almost all the faults which stam the 
soul in the eyes of God, of all the defects which 
make piety odious in the eyes of men, and of all 

On Humility, 


the caprices which dishonor a Christian in the eyes 
of the world. Strive, therefore, to destroy, if not 
completely, at least to weaken, this terrible enemy, 
which has such a firm hold on your whole being. 
To accomplish this end, profit by the countless 
little occasions where your self-love is hurt to do 
violence to it; each humiliation generously borne 
is a blow which shall weaken your enemy and pre- 
pare you for a complete victory. 

The second kind of humility is the humility of 
speech. The precepts of the Gospel and the max- 
ims of the world equally recommend this; the sen- 
timent of decent propriety should suffice to engage 
us to be faithful to it. He who extols himself 
should feel that he is doing just what degrades 
him. He seeks admiration, an^J^e finds contempt 
only. He wishes to make^himself important, and 
he renders himself only ridiculous. It is astonish- 
ing the disgust which boasting inspires — it is so 
universal and so common. How does it happen 
that the criticisms and railleries which are heard 
on every side concerning vain men do not correct 
their vanity? They are, therefore, very blind. 

Besides openly boasting, there is another manner 
of praising one's self which is more skilful but no 
less reprehensible. It consists in not naming one's 
self, but allowing every one to perceive who is 
praised. He does not eulogize his good works, but 
takes care to make them known. It is rarely that 
this refinement deceives men. Their own pride 
makes them see clearly the pride of others, and 



Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost, 


i! '1 

instead of the esteem they craved for, the vain in- 
spire only mistrust and contempt. 

The third kind of humility is humility in ac- 
tions. Our divine Saviour especially recommends 
this in the Gospel of to-day when He says : " When 
you are invited to a banquet take the last place.*' 
This precept finds its application not only at the 
banquet, but it extends to all the circumstances of 
life. It condemns the desire of self-exaltation and 
commanding, which is one of the most common 
sentiments and one of the most dangerous among 
men. They wish for the first place in the affec- 
tions, and hence the love of dress and all the arti- 
fices of vanity. Not only do they wish for the 
affections, but they wish for them to the exclusion 
of every one else, and hence jealousies and bitter 
disappointments. They wish to excel all others by 
their success and triumphs, and hence rivalries 
among equals and accusations of injustice against 
superiors. It is to the desire of self-exaltation 
and of ruling we must attribute almost all the op- 
positions to authority in the family and almost all 
the crimes which are committed in society. Ac- 
custom your pride to submission, and your self-love 
to endure humiliations ; then you shall destroy the 
principle of many faults, and dry up the source of 
many bitter disappointments. 

Second Point. — The object of humility. You 
should be humble in your own eyes. The first 
degree of humility is nothing else than the knowl- 
edge of yourself, of your frailty, of your inclina- 

On Humility, 


tion to evil, your passions, your vices. This 
knowledge of your misery which your experience 
gives and which faith reveals to you, should it not 
force you to be humble ? How can you be so pre- 
sumptuous when you are so weak? How can you 
dare to nourish thoughts of pride when you have 
so much to blush for? How can you afford to re- 
sent some affront when you are so worthy of con- 
tempt? How can you love yourself when you are 
so unlovable ? 

Does this kind of humility consist in denying 
that there is something good in you and not seeing 
the advantages you have above others either in 
wealth or in mind? Not at all. Humility is not 
falsehood. The truly humble heart never forgets 
that its good qualities, its talents, and its virtues 
are the gifts of God. It knows that all that it is, 
all the good it has done, comes from God ; conse- 
quently it cannot assume any vanity watever. 
Does it witness the fall of one of its friends? It 
thinks that if God had placed it in the same cir- 
cumstances as this man, without giving it the most 
abundant graces, it would fall perhaps into the 
most criminal excesses. The two considerations of 
the concupiscence which it feels and the grace it 
experiences; concupiscence leading it to evil, and 
grace which alone retains it in well-doing; con- 
cupiscence which it can with difficulty resist and 
grace to which it is so difficult to respond — these 
two considerations retain the heart in humility and 
hinder it from rising above others less favored and 


Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost. 


committing greater sins than itself. Thus it is 
that the humble heart, while not forgetting that it 
is exalted above others, does not glorify itself, but 
refers all honor to God, the Source of all good. 

You should be humble before God. This duty 
need only be exposed to be believed. You would 
strive in vain to form even a remote idea of the 
infinite distance which separates man from God. 
How then can we express what it is not possible 
for us to conceive? We are but nothingness, while 
God is the Sovereign Being. We are only weak- 
ness ; God is Omnipotence ! We are only sinners ; 
God is Sanctity itself. It is this last consideration 
which should especially profoundly humiliate us 
before Him. Yes, we should be more ashamed of 
our corruption than of our frailty; of our ingrati- 
tude than of our nothingness; everything should 
humiliate us before God ; everything — even the re- 
membrance of what He has done to exalt us. 
Have we not abused His very gifts? 

You should be humble in your thoughts with re- 
gard to your neighbor. Humility forbids all con- 
tempt for others and all pretension to superiority. 
To see the justice of this rule which humility im- 
poses, consider that your thoughts of pre-eminence 
come from the superiority which you think you 
have over others, whether they are in the order of 
nature or the order of religion. If they are tem- 
poral advantages — riches, beauty, birth, talents — 
which raise you above others in your thoughts, 
how futile they are? How small is the difference 

On Humility. 


that these distinctions make between one man 
and another. They are like to the bubbles which 
children make and which ascend in the air; they 
are dissipated and dissolved in the moment they 


If you esteem yourself more than others by rea- 
son of advantages in the religious order— virtue, 
good works, and piety — while the motive would, 
have some solidity, it would not have, in you, more 
justice. What have you, the Apostle asks, that you 
have not received ? And if you have received it, 
how do you dare to glory in it as if it had come 
from you? Your pride is more than ridiculous; it 
is unjust, since you rob God of the glory which is 
due to Him. 

O my God, all that I am and all that I have come 
from Thy grace ; do not permit that I abuse Thy 
gifts to offend Thee, but grant that all that is in 
me may serve to glorify Thee. 


I.. ; 



\A/HEN we seek for motives to love men, we must 
look for them outside and beyond them, but 
• • • when we seek for motives to love Jesus, we 
shall find them within Him, in His own sacred 
person. St. Bernard wished for no other motive 
for loving God than God Himself; and we must say 
also of Jesus that we must love Him because He is 
sovereignly amiable. 

First Point, — He has, in all its perfection, all ex- 
ternal beauty. Human nature, in fact, is found in 
Jesus in all its primitive purity, in all its perfect 
beauty — such as it came originally from the hands 
of God, since His divine body is the masterpiece of 
the Holy Ghost, who has formed it in the chaste 
womb of the Blessed Virgin. Besides, Jesus is 
called "the most beautiful of the children of men.'* 
David, to whom was given the happiness of seeing 
this ravishing figure of Christ across the centuries, 
is so struck by it, that he promises Him dominion 
over all hearts, the conquest of the universe, and 
without any other arms than His own marvellous 
beauty. He said: "Go, most beautiful of men, 
with your admirable beauty, with your good grace 
so natural to you, advance, combat, and reign." 

Motives for Loving Jesus. 


" Consider,'' says Bossuet, " the Caesars, the Alex- 
anders, and all the other destroyers of provinces 
who are called conquerors. God does not send 
them to earth except in His fury. Their victories 
are the sorrow and despair of widows and orphans. 
They triumph over public ruin and desolation. 
Ah, but it is not so with my Prince. He is the 
Captain Saviour, who saves the people because He 
has conquered them, and He conquers them by 
dying for them. He employs neither fire nor 
sword in subjugating them ; He combats by bless- 
ings, by all-powerful attractions and by invincible 


Although only a child, Jesus exercised even then 
this irresistible empire. He is born in a stable and 
lies in a crib, and shepherds prostrate at His feet 
and adore Him. The Wise Men from the extrem- 
ity of the East offer Him their most precious pres- 
ents. Hardly had He been presented in the temple 
than the holy old man Simeon takes Him in his 
arms, and, pressing Him to his aged heart, asks to 
die. He said: "Why should I wish to remain 
longer on earth, since my eyes have seen the De- 
sired of nations?" At an age more advanced, does 
it not seem that they who had the happiness of 
knowing Him should say when sorrows fell upon 
them, "Let us go and see the Son of Mary," and 
they would return consoled for having seen Him ? 

In heaven the contemplation of His beauty is the 
happiness of the blessed spirits, and it is also the 
sweetest consolation for the just on earth. Hear 

I ' 

296 Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost, 

the tender and affectionate words of St. Augustine : 
"For me, wherever I behold my Saviour, His 
beauty is always a charm. He is beautiful in hea- 
ven as He is beautiful on earth ; He is beautiful in 
the bosom of His Father, and He is beautiful in 
the arms of Mary His Mother. He is beautiful 
in His miracles and He is no less beautiful under 
the scourges of the Jews. He has a grace unparal- 
leled whether He invites us to life or when He de- 
spises death. Even on the cross He is beautiful, 
and everywhere He is worthy of love." 

Jesus possesses the beauty of eloquence and the 
grace of language. The Psalmist had predicted of 
Him that "grace should be on His lips.** In fact, 
the parables which fell from His sacred lips 
charmed the multitudes; they followed Him in 
crowds, and the pleasure of hearing Him made 
them forget to provide for their ordinary wants 
and nourishment. While hearing Him the people 
said: "Never has any one spoken as He has;" and 
the mothers exclaimed : " Blessed is the womb that 
bore Thee and the breasts that nourished Thee!" 
By His simple word He subjugated the most indo- 
cile mind, and imposed silence on His enemies. 
He commanded men to follow Him, and the chil- 
dren whom He called did not delay, not even to 
give to their fathers the duties of sepulture. He 
asked of His apostles, who were astonished at the 
profound mysteries of His doctrine, if they too 
would abandon Him, and they answered by pros- 
trating themselves at His feet. " Where shall we 

Motives for Loving fesus. 


go ? Thou alone hast the words of eternal life. " And 
it is especially when He speaks of the glory of His 
Father that Jesus is admirable. When the proph- 
ets, says Massillon, speak of God, the expressions 
lack the magnificence of their ideas ; they exhaust 
the weakness of human language to respond to the 
grandeur of Him whom they endeavor to depict. 
This shows the infinite disproportion which exists 
between the immensity of the Supreme Being and 
the feebleness of the human mind ; and the most 
pompous terms are never sufficient to express their 
admiration. But when Jesus speaks of the glory of 
His Father, He does so with a familiarity and a 
simplicity of language which suppose in Him a 
sublimity of knowledge which renders the idea of 
the Sovereign Being familiar. It is easy to see 
that it is the Child who speaks the language of His 
household. The children of kings speak of scep- 
tres and crowns in a simple, familiar manner, and, 
also, it is only the eternal Son of the living God 
who can speak so familiarly of the glory of God 
His Father. 

Jesus has the beauty of virtue. There is no vir- 
tue of which He has not given us the precept and 
example. He alone among all the legislators and 
all the moral doctors has instructed better by His 
example than by His words. All His words and 
all His acts breathe only humility, charity, and 
goodness. He is born in the midst of men, and it 
is to inspire them with a contempt for riches and 
a love for poverty ; His palace is a stable and a man- 


Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost. 

ger serves Him for a cradle ; He passes thirty years 
hidden in the house of a simple artisan, and when 
He begins His public life the first words which fall 
from His sacred lips are the beatification of pov- 
erty — " Blessed are the poor." They wish to make 
Him King, but He hides Himself by flight from 
the enthusiasm of the people. His omnipotence 
multiplies prodigies and His modesty forbids the 
sick to say that He has healed them. He is the ob- 
ject of the most odious accusations, of the bloodiest 
outrages ; still He permits Himself to be outraged 
and calumniated without uttering a word of com- 
plaint or in self -justification. 

The charity of Jesus equals His humility. In the 
study of His life it would be difficult to say which 
of these two virtues shone forth in Him with greater 
splendor. Two of His disciples wish to call down 
from heaven the fiercest fire on a city which had 
refused to receive them. But He said: "Ye know 
not of what spirit ye are. The Son of man has 
come not to destroy souls, but to save them.*' He 
calls to Him the little children, places them on His 
knees, embraces them, blesses them, and then gives 
them back to their happy mothers. He allows the 
greatest sinners to approach Him, and speaks to 
them only in kindness. He sends away without 
condemnation the woman who was taken in the 
commission of sin, and consoles the penitent Mag- 
dalen. All His miracles are blessings, and one of 
the witnesses of His life sums it up with as much 
nobleness as simplicity in saying: " He went about 

Motives for Loving Jesus, 


doing good.'* The splendor of His virtues can 
alone explain the strange dominion which Jesus 
exercised on whomsoever He approached. They 
with whom He dwelt were unwilling He should 
depart. " They detained Him, lest He should leave 
them." Philip speaks to Nathaniel of the Messias: 
"What good can come from Nazareth?" "Come," 
Philip said to him, "and see for yourself;" and 
when he had seen Him : " Ah, Thou art truly the 
Messias, the Son of God," and he became one of 
His most fervent disciples. 

In fine, Jesus possessed the beauty of self-sacri- 
fice. More than beauty, more than eloquence, 
more than virtue itself, self-sacrifice excites our 
enthusiasm and triumphs over every resistance. 
Well for you — yes, for you, the Son of God, the Cre- 
ator of the world, the Sovereign Lord of all things 
has become man; He has become a little child; 
He has suffered hunger, thirst, poverty, and the 
contempt of men ; His very love has nailed Him to 
a cross ! 

O soul redeemed by His blood, here acknowl- 
edge your crime if you do not love such a Bene- 
factor! O Lord Jesus, make me love Thee. Thou 
hast become my Father, for Thou hast given me 
life of intelligence, the life of grace, and eternal 
life; Thou hast become my Brother by Thy hu- 
manity, the Spouse of my soul by the union which 
Thou hast ' contracted with me in Baptism. Be 
then the King of my heart : it is to Thee only that 
I am devoted. Thy love shall be my life, Thy law 




Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost, 

shall be my law; I shall sing Thy praises and 
never shall I cease to proclaim Thy mercies. I 
wish to be faithful to Thee; I wish to belong to 
Thee without reserve. I wish to consecrate to 
Thee all my cares ; I wish to live and to die in Thy 



IN the paralytic healed so miraculously by Jesus, 
the holy doctors see the image of spiritual para- 
• lytics, in whom sin has exhausted the sources 
of . supernatural life, or in whom tepidity has 
stopped its activity. In the zeal which these^men 
display w^ho are so afflicted, they find two circum- 
stances worthy of our meditations, viz., the condi- 
tions and the signs of a sincere return to God. 

First Point, — Conditions of a sincere return to 
God. These men whom the Holy Spirit here pre- 
sents to us as models have with difficulty come to 
Jesus. They are stopped at the door of the house 
by a multitude whom all their efforts cannot resist. 
But their zeal is not lessened. Their ingenious 
charity finds another way to Him. Rather, He to 
whom faith conducts them suggests the way they 
must follow. And you also must expect to find 
obstacles in your return to Jesus. The enemy of 
your salvation shall oppose your return by the 
illusions of the world, the seductions of pleasures, 
the authority of examples, vain words, the fear of 
opinions, and foolish railleries. 

But it is in yourself especially that you shall find 
the most dangerous arms. They are the ardent 


Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost, 

passions which you must repress, agreeable in- 
clinations which you must reform, flattering 
tastes which you must abandon, cherished associa- 
tions which you must break, and inveterate habits 
which you must overcome. Imagination, which 
still more increases the difficulty, terrifies you ; only 
the idea of efforts to be made prevents even the 
first step. Alas! how much this sad fear of con- 
test against one's self puts to flight the courageous 
resolutions and renders void the most salutary 

If the sick man of whom there is now question was 
discouraged; if, yielding to obstacles, he stopped 
short; if, despairing of reaching Jesus, he had 
ceased to seek Him, the unfortunate man would 
have been a victim to his infirmity during his life ; 
and, what is more deplorable still, he would die 
laden by his sins. This is the condition of sinners 
whom sloth restrains at the very outset of their 
penitential career, or whom weakness prevents 
from performing it. Indeed, we should mistrust 
ourselves, but can we not confide in God? He has 
promised us His assistance; shall we doubt His 
fidelity? Implore this assistance with which you 
cannot fail to triumph, but think that it is to your 
efforts that God shall grant it. He wishes to sup- 
ply for your weakness, but not for your will. He 
consents to aid you. but He commands that you 
shall begin to act. He adds to your strength what 
is wanting, but He requires that such as it is you 
must employ it. See the paralytic who is pre- 

Jesus Heals the Paralytic. . 


sen ted for your model. He strives to come to Jesus 
with all the strength of which he is capable; in 
his inability to go and cast himself at the feet of 
Jesus he puts himself in the hands of charitable 
persons who carry him there. Imitate him ; if your 
soul, paralyzed by a long sequence of sins, feels 
no longer able to endure their weight and can only 
give forth vain desires, entrust yourself to a zealous 
director. He shall guide you, he shall carry you 
if it is necessary, even to the feet of your Re- 
deemer. His science shall enlighten you, his ex- 
perience shall guide you, and his charity shall sus- 
tain you. What you think you are unable to do he 
shall teach you ; and what you really cannot do he 
shall do for you. His prayers, which are agreeable 
to God, shall make yours heard. He shall be at 
once the happy mediator who shall obtain your 
pardon and the merciful judge who shall pro- 
nounce it. 

Second Point. — Signs of a true conversion. In 
healing the paralytic, Jesus gives him three dif- 
ferent commands which announce the different 
characters of the conversion of a sinner. He com- 
mands him to arise, to take up his bed, and to re- 
turn into his house. 

The first mark by which we recognize that a sin- 
ner is truly converted is when his soul, once lifted 
up to God, is no longer grovelling in the things of 
earth, and, strongly maintaining itself, it remains' 
with constancy in the state of rectitude in which 
grace has placed it. We do not consider the sick 


Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost, 

man cured when each time he strives to rise he 
falls back through want of vigor. We must pro- 
nounce the same judgment on a soul whose feeble 
efforts to arise, not having the necessary strength, 
are continually followed by relapses. Is not this 
the judgment we must pronounce on you — you 
who make of your life a continual alternation of 
penance and sin? You have not the courage to cut 
loose entirely from the world; you have not the 
generosity to give yourself entirely to God ; you 
are tossed about successively from your fears to 
your weakness. Do you think you have recovered 
health when you take in the way of salvation only 
wavering steps and when the least obstacle disturbs 
you and casts you down? "Arise," said the Sav- 
iour ; but remember that a relapse is worse than the 
original malady, because, already weakened, you 
have less strength to bear this and to accept the 

In the bed which Jesus commanded the paralytic 
to take away, the fathers see the symbol of habits, 
aflEections, and the passions to which the soul was 
addicted while she was paralyzed. There she rests, 
there she languishes, there she remains, incapable 
of movement. After her conversion the objects of 
her affections become for her a burden. Her crime 
was to taste of the pleasure, and a part of her 
penance shall be to feel its burden. Sinful soul, 
do not hesitate to take up this bed of miseries to 
which you were so long confined. You must take 
it up, or you shall continue to lie upon it. But takQ 

Jesus Heals the Paralytic, 


courage. Your burden shall become less heavy in 
proportion to your willingness to carry it ; your pas- 
sions will continue to torment you, especially in 
the beginning of your conversion, but they will 
grow weaker in the measure you resist them, and 
you shall regain the dominion over yourself. 

Jesus commanded the paralytic to return to his 
house. This is also the command He gives to a 
converted soul. By sin she went out from herself 
to give herself to creatures ; her conversion should 
consist principally in re-entering herself and re- 
maining there constantly recollected. This sep- 
aration from dangerous objects, this interior re- 
treat, are at once the precious effects, the manifest 
sign, and the assured guarantee of a solid penance. 
Those sinners are not truly converted whom we 
see, after some equivocal marks of repentance, not 
avoiding the occasions which led them to sin, form- 
ing again those associations which were their ruin, 
and returning to the pleasures which corrupted 
them. You see the most perfect, just those inno- 
cent souls that have never been stained by a mortal 
sin, tremble at the approach of the world and fear 
its empoisoned breath lest the delicate flower of 
purity should be withered. And you, who with the 
knowledge of your weakness and the experience of 
all your falls should stand in fear and in continual 
circumspection — you imprudently expose yourself to 
the contagion by which you were so often at- 
tacked, and again expose yourself to the danger to 
which you have so often succumbed ! How can you 



3o6 Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost. 

thi&k that your desires of virtue are sincere? Fly, 
therefore, from the world, where everything is a 
pitfall for your virtue ; and, if you are obliged to 
live in it, make a solitude for yourself, where you 
can often enter— there to purify your soul from 
the vile dust by which the commerce of the world 
surely soils even the most religious hearts. 



UNDER the emblem of the King who, desiring 
to celebrate the wedding-feast of his son, 
• • sends his servants with a command to invite 
the guests, we must recognize God Himself. He 
wishes to celebrate the wedding- feast of the Lamb, 
that is to say, the union of Jesus with His Church, 
His well-beloved spouse. It is by faith that we 
acquire the right to celebrate the mysterious nup- 
tials of the Lamb, since it is by faith that we be- 
come members of the Church and by it we are 
spiritually united with Jesus in the world while 
expecting to be perfectly united with Him in 
heaven. The invitation of the King who calls us 
to the wedding festival of His Son is the vocation 
to the faith, by which we are admitted to a sublime 
vocation, an inestimable blessing which is the prin- 
ciple of every other, and which, if we correspond 
to it, shall procure for us all blessings. That which 
the Apostle St. Paul only asks of the faithful of 
Ephesus is that they should walk in a manner 
worthy of their vocation. It is also what God asks 
of us, and it seems to be the first duty which voca- 
tion to the faith imposes on us. How many men 
who have had the misfortune to be deprived of this 


Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost, 

signal favor would know better than we how to 
profit by it? On the day of judgment they shall be 
compared with you. It is Jesus Himself who tells 
you this, and they shall experience an indulgence 
very different from the rigor with which you shall 
be treated. 

The King sent his servants to those who had 
been invited, but they refused to come. He sent 
a second time, and bade his servants say to the 
guests: " Behold, my oanquet is ready; come to the 
wedding. But they neglected, and went their way, 
one to his farm and another to his merchandise; 
and the rest laid hands on them and put them to 
death." These words reveal to us in all its extent 
the goodness with which God acts in our regard, 
and especially the goodness He manifested towards 
the Jews. He had invited them to the nuptials of 
His Son. Was it then necessary that He should 
invite them again? The choice which God had 
made of them to be His particular people, the ad- 
vantage He had given them over all other nations 
by making them know His holy name, by making 
them the depositaries of His sacred promises — 
should not this bind them to God irrevocably? 
Should it be necessary, after giving them His law, 
for God to send them again His servants and raise 
up prophets to remind them of His commandments 
and lead them to their observance ? 

However, we see Him constantly renewing His 
entreaties; to His neglected warnings He added 
new ones, and with a goodness which only He 

The Wedding-Feast, 


could manifest. And in the midst of all the wit- 
nesses of His merciful goodness we see this priv- 
ileged people almost always unfaithful, ignoring 
the hand from which they received all goods, and 
falling from one idolatry to another. In the desert, 
even when their mouths were filled with the 
manna, they blasphemed Him who nourished them, 
and in their Deicide the Israelites did not cease to 
repay by innumerable outrages the countless bless- 
ings with which God had filled them. Such enor- 
mous ingratitude astonishes you, and, in fact, it 
should surprise you, if you were not obliged to 
make the same reproaches against yourselves. 
Alas, how many graces have you received from 
God. And how have you repaid them? When 
has He ceased to be kind and have you ceased 
to be ungrateful ? Every moment of your life is a 
blessing, and almost every moment is an injury to 


The excuses alleged by the guests represent the 
reasons which hinder so many Christians from re- 
sponding to the invitations of God. In some it is 
their interest in temporal things, their care for 
self-aggrandizement; their desire of augmenting 
their possessions and increasing their fortune ab- 
sorbs them. In others it is dissipation and pleas- 
ure ; they are solely occupied in passing the present 
life agreeably ; they never reflect on the future life ; 
their whole idea is to make for themselves one 
round of pastime and amusement ; or, rather, they 
have no fixed or settled idea — they think only of 

3IO Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost, 

enjoying present goods in the measure that they 
present themselves. They run from one amuse- 
ment to another, flying from the weariness which 
pursues them, and this weariness often attacks 
them in the very midst of their pleasures. 

To these two classes of men, who neglect for 
frivolous objects the honor which the King wished 
to do them, Jesus adds a third, which unites cruelty 
with indifference; they seize the servants of the 
King, outrage them, and put them to death. Here 
you see the Jews who, after delivering Jesus into 
the hands of the executioners, become the most 
bitter persecutors of His disciples and apostles. 
When they could, they persecuted the disciples and 
put them to death ; when they could not do this 
themselves, they raised up persecutors, urging the 
Gentiles against them and exciting the magistrates 
to shed their blood. 

By the terrible vengeance which the King took 
on the murderers, Jesus makes manifest allusion 
to the vengeance He shall take later on the crimes 
of which the Jewish nation was guilty towards Him 
and His disciples. The army of which He speaks 
is the army of Vespasian, who delivered Jerusalem 
to the flames, exterminating the inhabitants and 
dispersing the remainder of the Jewish people. 

But it was not only the Jews who persecuted the 
servants of Jesus. The annals of the Church re- 
cord many other persecutions which she endured 
in different countries and at different times. They 
were bloody persecutions, and they were followed 

The Wedding-Feast, 


by persecution of another kind-less cruel, indeed 
but perhaps more dangerous and more to be feared 
because it is perpetual and without interruption 
It is the bitterness with which the enemies of God 
pursue by their calumnies, their outrages, their 
defamations, and their railleries those who practise 
virtue. Arm yourself with courage to resist this 
kind of persecution, and remain faithful to your 
God in spite of all the obstacles which you must 

overcome. . . 

The King enters the banquet-hall to scrutinize 
the guests. This is a figure of the judgment we 
must undergo at the moment when, departing from 
the militant Church, we shall go to join the Church 
triumphant. The garment with which you must 
be clothed to assist at the nuptials of the Lamb 
represents sanctifying grace, received in Baptism 
or recovered by Penance. It is this nuptial robe 
which St. Paul had in view when he said to the 
faithful of Colossa: " Put ye on, as the elect of God, 
the bonds of mercy, goodness, humility, modesty, 
patience, and, above all, have charity, which is the 
bond of perfection." 

It is the King Himself who perceives a man 
seated at His banquet who has not on the nuptial 
robe. Nothing escapes the eye of God, before whom 
everything is naked and uncovered. Do not flatter 
yourself to be able, when you shall present your- 
self at His tribunal, to conceal anything from Him. 
The Supreme Judge can neither be deceived nor 
seduced. To punish the boldness of this rash man 

-SC^TT^^i^^h^t^' ' 

312 Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost, 

who had dared to sit at table without a nuptial gar- 
ment, God caused him to be cast into exterior dark- 
ness, the place of weeping and gnashing of teeth. 
Behold the inevitable destiny of those who die im- 

O my God, Thou hast called me to the faith, 
Thou hast called me to take part in Thy Church, to 
enter into participation of all its riches ; Thou hast 
given me a right to Thy inheritance and to Thy 
kingdom ; Thou hast called me to sit down at the 
delightful banquet which Thou hast prepared for 
Thy elect. O my God, give me the grace to pre- 
ciously preserve the nuptial robe in which Thou 
hast clothed me at Baptism, and, if I have the mis- 
fortune to lose it by sin, then help me to recover it 
in the Sacrament of Penance. 



IN the Gospel of to-day we are called upon to con- 
sider the zeal and the ardor of the officer of Ca- 
• pharnaum . He hastens to the Saviour to ask the 
healing of his son, and we cannot fail to observe 
his lively faith and the graces he received from Our 
Lord Jesus Christ. 

First Point, — " An officer whose son was sick at 
Capharnaum, having heard that Jesus had come from 
Judea to Galilee, went to Him and begged Him to 
come and heal his son/' This officer had a son, 
the object of all his tenderness, who was sick; the 
malady was so violent that there was no hope of 
his restoration except by a miracle. Jesus had al- 
ready done a great number of miracles in this city, 
but He had left it. What a sad plight for this un- 
happy father, on the point of losing all that was 
dearest to him in the world ! In his sorrow he in- 
quires and is informed where Jesus was; he had 
heard all that had been said of Him, and he learns 
that Jesus had left Judea and had gone to Galilee. 
Then, fearing that Jesus would arrive too late at 
Capharnaum, he determines to set out to meet Him 
and to ask Him to hasten His journey. He will not 


Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost, 

entrust this mission to any one, but leaves his son to 
seek assistance for him. He departs without think- 
ing of the length of the journey or the fatigue. 
Have for the salvation of your soul the eagerness 
which this father had for the health of his son, and 
you shall discover, as he did, all that contributes to 
your health, your sanctifi cation, and your perfec- 
tion; you shall not be arrested either by human 
respect or by shame of confessing your faults, or by 
the difficulties of the sacrifices you may make. 

If the officer of Capharnaum now gives you a 
lesson by his eagerness in going to find Jesus, he 
gives you another, no less important, by the fervor 
of his prayer. Hardly had he found Jesus than 
he begged Him to come and heal his dear sick one. 
But Jesus said to him, "Unless you see miracles 
and wonders you do not believe,** and the officer in- 
sists by saying, "Come, Lord, before my son dies.** 
The prayer of this man was indeed defective, be- 
cause he seemed to think that Jesus could not heal 
his son except He was near him ; but how admi- 
rable are his fervor, his humility, and especially his 
perseverance ! A confidence less solid should fail 
before a reproach which had all the appearances of 
a refusal; but, far from being disconcerted, he 
humbles himself and gives to his prayer a fresh 
energy. He exclaimed: "Lord, my son is near 
dying; hasten, I conjure you; come quickly before 
he dies." O happy father, not to be rejected ! His 
perseverance is rewarded. Jesus said to him : " Go, 
your son is healed.** Strive to know the Master 

Jesus Heals the Son of the Officer, 3^5 

whom you serve. If He defers hearing you, if He 
seems to reject you, it is His love which prompts 
' Him to act so and for your greater good. Ask 
Him, therefore, in confidence, but ask Him with an 
entire resignation to the designs of Providence, for 
all temporal goods, health of body, success in your 
studies, success in your enterprises; if He refuse 
you, then believe it is for your interest and bow 
down to His holy will. Ask Him for spiritual 
goods. God owes them to you. Ask them of Him 
eagerly and with perseverance, and rest assured 
He shall grant you always more than you ask of 


Second P^/«/.— Consider the beginning, the prog- 

ress, and the recompense of this man who comes 
to implore the healing of his son. His faith is not 
an enlightened one ; the idea which he had formed 
of Jesus after what he had heard of Him in Caphar- 
naum was very imperfect. He believed, it is true, 
that Jesus could heal his son, but he did not be- 
lieve He could heal him without seeing him, touch- 
ing him, and speaking with him. He did not know 
that Jesus could work miracles at a distance as well 
as near at hand, when absent as well as when pres- 
ent, and that a single act of His will was sufficient. 
He was far from believing that Jesus was the Son 
of God, God Himself, the Creator and Master of the 
universe. Have you a more precise idea of Jesus? 
Have you such an idea as faith gives and demands? 
Should the divine Master address you as He once 
addressed the apostles, *^What think you of Me?*' 



Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost. 

could you respond without hesitation and with the 
same assurance as St. Peter: "You are the Christ, 
the Son of the living God*7 

The progress of his faith. The reprimand of the 
Saviour had made an impression on this man ; and 
when he heard Jesus in tones of authority pro- 
nounce these words of hope, "Your son is healed/' 
he believed in the words of Jesus, and departed 
fully persuaded his son should be restored to him. 
Therefore he believed in this miracle without hav- 
ing seen it ; he ceased to be of the number of those 
of whom Jesus had just spoken, who did not be- 
lieve unless they had seen. 

On his return the servants, who had been wit- 
nesses of the sudden healing of their young master, 
met him and said: "Your son liveth.'' At this 
happy news, he does not permit his heart to in- 
dulge in vain joy. He forgets himself and thinks 
only of his Benefactor. This prodigious event 
shall have for him practical and important conse- 
quences. He asks of the servants at what hour his 
son got better, and recognized it was at that very 
moment that Jesus said: "Your son is healed." 
"He believed, and his whole house with him." 
Then it was that he understood that Jesus had not 
only predicted the healing, but had also accom- 
plished it. He was struck at the sight of a power 
so divine, and he believed not only in the words of 
Jesus, but ip Jesus Himself. He recognized Him 
as the Son of God, the promised Messias, and the 
Saviour of the world. May your faith in Jesus 

Jesus Heals the Son of the Officer, 3 1 7 

likewise grow in proportion to the benefits you 

receive from Him. 

Recompense of his faith. The first recompense 
which this happy father received was the restora- 
tion of his son to health. What reward for his 
long journey, his fatigues, and his sacrifices ! And 
for us, also, our first and sweetest recompense when 
we shall sincerely seek Jesus shall be the healing 
of our soul. We shall recover the beauty of virtue, 
peace of heart, and the friendship of God and our 
rights to heaven . What a happiness ! Can we ever 
do too much to merit this? 

The second recompense he received was the per- 
fection of his faith. The faith of this man which 
came from seeking Jesus was indeed generous ; but, 
observe, it was also an enlightened faith. When he 
had left Jesus it had received a wonderful increase 
which exalted it to the very perfection of faith. 
He believed without reserve the words of Jesus, 
regarding Him as the Messias, the one by whom 
alone we can have access to God. And not content 
with believing in Him, he inspired his whole house- 
hold with his faith, and gained for Jesus all those 
hearts over whom he had authority. God does not 
cease to lavish His blessings on you, but shall they 
serve to increase your love for Him and your zeal 

for His glory? 

Who could not grieve for this man when he saw 
his son, whom he loved so much, at the point of 
death! And still, that very circumstance which 
made him an object of compassion in the eyes of 


Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost. 

men was the means of leading him and his house- 
hold to Jesus. Oh, how little we understand our 
true interests when we complain of God and mur- 
mur against the dispositions of His providence! 
Ah, rather than murmur, let us adore the profound 
wisdom of God, directing us in all things. After 
the example of the model we have just studied, let 
us also profit by sickness and afflictions. They 
should prompt us to have recourse to God, to unite 
us with Him intimately, and to detach us from the 
world more and more. 




N the Gospel of to-day there are three circum- 
stances which present themselves for our con- 
• sideration : the clemency of the master towards 
his insolvent servant, the cruelty of this servant 
towards his debtor, and the justice of the master 
with regard to this heartless servant. 

First Point.—'' The kingdom of heaven is like to 
a king who would take an account with his ser- 
vants ; but when he began to make this accounting, 
there was one who owed him ten thousand talents.'* 
The King who demands an account of His ser- 
vants is God, the Sovereign Lord of the universe; 
his servants are the entire human race. Yes, we 
are all the servants of God ; we all have an account 
opened with Him. This account must be made to 
Him willingly or unwillingly, either in this life at 
the tribunal of His mercy, or in the next life at the 
tribunal of His justice. 

The servant of whom there is question now owed 
ten thousand talents, and for this large amount was 
indebted to his master. What an enormous sum, 
especially for that time! Jesus here employs a 
hyperbolic expression, and wishes to make us un- 
derstand the extent of the debt which we have 
contracted with Divine Justice and the little pro- 


320 Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost, 

portion which exists between our sins which have 
offended God and the wrongs with which we can 
reproach our neighbors. This reproach serves to 
demonstrate the goodness of God, who remits our 
debt and our injustice, although we refuse to par- 
don our brethren. Recall now, if you can, the sins 
without number which make up the immense debt 
which we owe to Divine Justice, and see what should 
be our condition if God had treated us according to 
our merits. 

" As the servant had not wherewith to pay, his 
master ordered that he should be sold and his 
wife and his children and all he possessed.** This 
was the ancient law with regard to insolvent 
debtors. The lot reserved for an impenitent sin- 
ner is still more terrible. You know what awaits 
him, and, strange to say, you rest in greatest tran- 
quillity. Oh! in the name of your dearest and 
best interests, do not sleep in this sad tranquillity, 
but while there is yet time imitate the servant of 
the Gospel and profit by the lesson he gives you. 
"He casts himself at the feet of his master and 
conjuring him says. Have patience with me and I 
shall pay thee all I owe.*' But you are still more 
insolvent than he ; you have no other resource than 
the bounty of the Master whom you have so crim- 
inally outraged. Therefore prostrate yourselves 
before the Divine Mercy ; however great the debt 
you owe Him, it shall be pardoned you if your re- 
pentance is sincere. 

" The master of the servant had pity on him and 

The Insolvent Servant, 


let him go.'* O admirable effect of repentance! 
Hardly has the sinner confessed and deplored his 
fault than mercy pronounces the happy sentence 
which pardons. All his sins have been pardoned, 
they have been effaced, they have disappeared, 
they are as if they had never been. "I shall re- 
member them no more,** said the Lord. Oh, how 
consoling are these thoughts and words! Oh, how 
unhappy and how blind you should be if you 
should refuse a pardon which can be obtained on 
a condition so easy ! 

Second Point.—'' But when that servant was gone 
out he met one of his fellow-servants that owed 
him a hundred pence, and laying hold of him he 
throttled him, saying : ' Pay what thou owest. * And 
his fellow-servant falling down besought him, say- 
ing, 'Have patience with me and I shall pay thee 
all;* and he would not, but went and cast him into 
prison until he paid the debt. Now his fellow-ser- 
vants were indignant, and told their lord all that 
had been done.** And why should they not be in- 
dignant at the conduct of this servant, who, at the 
very moment he was the object of such great good- 
ness on the part of his master, should treat his com- 
panion with so much cruelty? The indignation is 
redoubled when we compare what was due him 
with what had been remitted— the enormous sum 
of ten thousand talents, which the generosity of 
the master had remitted, and the small debt of one 
hundred pence, the payment of which he requires 
with so much heartless rigor. 


32 2 Tiuenty-Jirst Sunday after Pentecost. 

Without doubt, you applaud the conduct of the 
other servants, who, in their indignation, inform 
the master of what has happened. But shall not 
the angels one day give testimony against you? 
While you implore God to pardon you your faults, 
the immense debt which God is ready to pardon 
you with a liberality which is truly royal, do you 
not refuse to pardon your neighbor the slight 
wrong he may have done you? Understand it 
well. The pardon of injuries and the love of ene- 
mies are contained in the precept of charity ; or, 
rather, there is no charity possible without the ful- 
filment of this twofold duty. In fact, it was not 
necessary for Jesus to come and tell us to love 
those who love us ; this is the friendship which was 
known before the coming of Christ. It was not 
necessary that He should teach us to do good to 
the unfortunate, to pardon an enemy, since benefi- 
cence and clemency were known and practised be- 
fore His coming. Thus Jesus, by imposing charity 
on us, has only anticipated us in our duties, and 
does not limit Himself to that. You know that He 
has said : " I tell you to love your enemies, do good 
to those that hate you, pray for those who perse- 
cute and calumniate you, that you may be worthy 
children of your heavenly Father who makes the 
sun rise on the good and the wicked. For if you 
love only those that love you, what recompense 
shall you deserve?** Weigh well these words, and 
see what we should think of those Christians who 
call themselves Christians and refuse to pardon ; or 

The Insolvent Servant, 


of those who pardon and refuse to be reconciled; 
or of those who are reconciled themselves, but re- 
fuse to see their enemies reconciled. It is a singu- 
lar charity which has the same effects as hatred ! 
You say: " I pardon him, but I do not wish to see 
him or speak to him ;" and what more could you do, 
if you should hate him ? 

Third Point.— ''Then the master being angry 
delivered him to the executioners of justice until 
he had paid the debt. Thus shall your heavenly 
Father treat every one of you, if you do not pardon 
your brother from the bottom of your heart.'* Who 
shall not applaud the conduct of the master, which 
is so full of justice? But at the same time, how 
can we not see our condemnation if we imitate the 
inhuman servant, if we preserve enmities against 
our brethren? We shall be as culpable as God has 
been indulgent towards us. " Wicked servant, I for- 
gave you all the debt, because you besought Me; 
should you not have had pity on your companion, 
as I had pity on you?** This reproach on the lips of 
Jesus is a charitable means of engaging us to love 
our enemies by recalling His own examples; for 
here, as everywhere. He imposes on us nothing 
that He Himself has not done first. It is love 
for His enemies that made Him descend from 
the splendors of heaven to the poverty of a stable. 
It is love for His enemies which, in the course of 
His mortal life, engaged Him to pour out His bene- 
fits on a people who repaid Him by ingratitude. It 
is love for His enemies which made Him ascend 

324 Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost, 

the altar of the cross, there to reconcile by His 
blood sinners with the God whom they had out- 
raged. It is love for His enemies which dictated 
these admirable words : "Father, forgive them; 
they know not what they do." After having given 
us such examples, Je^sus had the right to impose on 
us the obligation of pardoning offences and loving 
enemies. Oh, may you comprehend the extent of 
your duties in this matter ! May the God of charity 
give you the strength to fulfil your duties; then 
you shall see realized for you these delightful 
words: " Blessed are they who are merciful, for 
they shall obtain ^ercy." 




npWO masters dispute for the possession of your 
* heart, God and the world. God, who created 
• • • it, is the legitimate possessor of it; and the 
world, which has not even a secondary right, 
however, wishes that you should give it entirely 
to its service. In the Gospel of to-day Jesus de- 
cides the question and fixes all your duties. He 
decides the rights, and He yields a part of them to 
the world ; but what He retains He demands, and 
He makes it a rigorous obligation for you to re- 
serve them for Him. The goods which God has 
given us are of two kinds : personal goods which 
are within us, and external goods which are out- 
side of us ; and we should know what God requires 
in both. 

First Point, — The personal goods of which God 
demands His share are, first, your thoughts. Our 
thoughts are in some manner our children, the 
children of our soul ; the most precious products of 
the noblest of mothers — our intelligence. It is why 
God demands them : He wishes that our thoughts 
should be directed to Him and not to creatures; 
that they should be occupied with Him and not 

326 Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost, 

with the vanities of the world. It is why He said 
to the spouse, that is, to every just soul: " Place Me 
as a seal on your heart \' which signifies : Think of 
Me often, think of Me always if it is possible. 
But the world disputes our thoughts with God ; as 
another Pharao it overwhelms us with labors and 
witli earthly cares, to hinder us from offering to 
God the constant sacrifice. What shall we do? 
Shall we wisely share our thoughts between God 
and ^he world, and give only to the world what we 
should give to Him? And so, you are occupied 
with your family, with your studies, with the fu- 
ture, even with your pleasures ! Very well ; but on 
condition that there shall not pass a day, not an 
hour of the day, in which you shall not think of 
God, of your soul, of your eternity. And oh, how 
many reasons for that! Eternity is everything for 
you ; your soul is the most noble part of you. Gt)d 
is your Creator, your last end, the most noble and 
worthy object of your thoughts and of your love. 
Has he given you an intelligence thirsting to know 
Him, that you should engage it only in frivolous 
objects? Has He given you a heart anxious to love 
Him, that you should employ it in affections for 
creatures? Impossible! To think so would con- 
tradict the lights of reason and the teachings of 

Another personal good are your words and dis- 
courses. What is the ordinary and perhaps the 
exclusive object of your words? The earth and 
the things of the earth ; the body and all that can 

Render to Ccesar the Things which are C(2sar's. 327 

adorn and flatter it; the miserable news of the 
world, and a thousand foolish things unworthy of a 
reasonable being. This is an injustice. Who has 
given you the gift of speech-this admirable gift 
by which your intelligence communicates with 
other intelligences, and reveals to them its 
thoughts and its will? God alone. Now it is 
only just that what comes from Him should con- 
tribute to His glory. Let your words, therefore, 
have sometimes God and the things of God for 
their object; if you love Him your mouth should 
speak of Him often, for the mouth speaks from the 
abundance of the heart. If you speak so often of 
the world, of the vanity of the things of the world, 
it is because you love the world and its vanity. 
Watch, therefore, that the love of created things 
does not take entire possession of your heart. If it 
is already smitten by it, have recourse to prayer to 
obtain the grace to be set free from affections un- 
worthy of a Christian. Speak of the things of the 
world only as much as your position and circum- 
stances require, but let the dearest subjects of 
your conversation be of God and the things which 

pertain to eternity. 

Our works are a third personal good which we 
should know how to share with God. The world 
seeks to have us exclusively in its service. The 
most part of men live, labor, and annoy themselves 
night and day for the world. Like to the insects, 
they come and go incessantly, to procure for them- 
selves clothing and nourishment, to amass nches. 

328 Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost, 

and to acquire honors. The Lord condemns this 
disturbing activity when He exclaims : " Do not lay 
up treasures on earth which worms destroy and 
thieves take away, but lay up treasures in heaven 
which the worms or robbers cannot take away.*' 
Do not labor always for the world and the interests 
of this life, but labor for your soul, for God, and for 
eternity. May you be able to say every day: I 
have lived and labored for heaven : I have sent into 
eternity some good work for which I shall receive 
a recompense. If the Emperor Titus, although a 
pagan, considered as lost a day passed without 
having done some good, what should be the senti- 
ments of a Christian who meditates on these words: 
"What shall it profit a man to gain the whole 
world and lose his wSoul?" 

Second Point. — There are other goods, which are 
not within us, which are given us by God or which 
are the exterior fruit of our labor§; we should 
equally share them with the Sovereign Master. 
One of these exterior goods and the most precious 
is time. We owe to God a part of the days He has 
given us. He Himself has made the division. He 
has determined what days we should give Him 
and what days we may give to the world. " You 
shall observe the seventh day,'* He says in the 
book of Exodus, " for it is holy, and I reserve it 
for myself.*' It is then a sacrilegious theft to take 
from God the Sundays and festival days, to sacrifice 
them to the world, by employing them in labor and 
in profane pleasures. It is to despise His law, to 

Render to Ccesar the Things which are Ccesar*s. 329 

deprive Him of His glory, and to prefer before 
Him the demon and our passions. What a shame, 
and what a crime! God will be avenged for this 
audacious sacrilege. He curses on the earth and 
He will curse in eternity those who thus outrage 
Him. Never be guilty of this profanation ; give 
to the world what belongs to it, but learn to give 
to God what is His. How have you hitherto ful- 
filled this duty? 

We should also share with God another exterior 
good, which is the fruit of our labors and the bene- 
diction of heaven; it is our fortune. Abel offered 
to God victims taken from his flock. Noe, Abra- 
ham, and the other patriarchs offered sacrifices to 
the Lord, and Solomon sacrificed more gold in the 
construction and ornamentation of the temple than 
in the erection of his palace. The pagans under- 
stood this law, which is so just. Reason had told 
them that man owed to the divinity a part of the 
goods he had received ; and hence they offered on 
the altar, the first fruits of the earth. And you, 
should you give nothing to God? But, you say, 
K^what can I give Him? Behold His temples and 
His altars naked, the ornaments and the vessels 
which are employed in the sacrifice poor and un- 
worthy of His majesty. Would it be difficult to take 
some time, to retrench some vanity, to contribute 
to embellish the house of God or decorate His 
altars? You have some poor before your eyes; 
God has placed them there to afford you the oppor- 
tunity of lending to Him in usury, since " He that 

330 Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost. 

gives to the poor lends to the Lord/* Give then 
to the brethren of Jesus a part of the goods that 
God has lent to you, and thereby lay up treasures 
for heaven. 

In fine, there are souls that have lived on earth 
for you, who have labored for you, and you, per- 
haps, are enriched at the expense of their souls. 
You now enjoy their labors, while they, perhaps, 
suffer the torments of purgatory because of you. 
Your duty is to make some sacrifice for them, to 
sacrifice some of the riches which they have ac- 
quired for you; such is the manner of sharing be- 
tween God and the world your personal goods — 
thoughts, words, actions, and external goods — your 
time and your fortune. Think of these things; 
they are of the highest importance in view of eter- 
nal salvation. Fear, by neglect of these duties, to 
die poor in good works and to appear empty-handed 
before the Judge who has said: "Give to God the 
things which are God*s." 



IN the miracle which Jesus wrought in favor of 
the daughter of Jairus we should especially 
• consider three things: of whom is this young 
girl the image, the conditions of the sinner's re- 
turn to grace, and the marks of a true return to 


First Point, — Of whom is this young girl the 
image? She is yours; because she was young, full 
of health, loved by her father, adored by her mother. 
She promised herself long years, and in her gracious 
carelessness she smiled on the world, which ex- 
tended its arms to her. However, she dies — this 
only daughter, this rich heiress, this youthful 
beauty. Neither the nobleness of her blood, nor 
the dignities of her family, nor wealth, nor youth, 
were able to preserve her from death. She is your 
image, because you yourself, from one moment to 
another, may fall under the stroke of death, as the 
fragile flower falls under the scythe of the har- 

Woe to this young girl, if, captivated by the 
pleasures of the world, she has loved it to the 
detriment of her eternal interests ; if the desire to 

332 Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost, 

please it made her forget God ; if the care of her 
body made her forget her soul ; if she has cultivated* 
her beauty to attract adorers ; if, proud of her advan- 
tages, she has opened her heart to pride and allowed 
it to fall into vain projects — what a misfortune for 
her, and what a folly ! Death has destroyed every- 
thing, and her projects and her desires have per- 
ished. What misfortune also for you, if you imitate 
her in her ardor for the things of the world and her 
carelessness for the things of heaven. Death shall 
come to destroy everything, both the vanity of your 
projects and the folly of your illusions. 

On seeing her, Jesus exclaimed: "The girl is 
not dead, but sleepeth." It was impossible bet- 
ter to express the effect of sin in a soul hitherto 
innocent. This first fault, it is true, brings her 
death, but the return to life is so easy that this 
death is rather a sleep than a real death. The 
heart cannot be corrupted ; conscience has not lost 
its first delicacy; all the principles of life, so to 
speak, are living — the breath of grace is all that is 
needed to reanimate them. See also in what this 
young girl is your image. You have sinned, but 
your heart is not perverted ; every sentiment is not 
extinguished; the habit is not formed. All the 
happy impressions of virtue which you have received 
still live, and a little good will is all that is neces- 
sary to restore you to grace. May you understand 
and profit by all these elements of santification. 

Second Point, — Jesus begins by sending away the 
band of musicians who make a great tumult in this 

Resurrection of the Daughter of fair us. 2>Z2> 

house where life must re-enter. He thus indicates 
to us the ordinary cause which leads to neglect in 
the souls of sinners, of whom this young girl is the 
image ; also the first condition bf a return to God. 
There carelessness has commenced with a taste for 
pleasures. There is in worldly diversions — in 
parties, balls, spectacles — a deadly vapor which 
penetrates the heart and excites it. Do not hope 
to return to the fervor of your first piety as long 
as you shall live in the midst of the agitation of 
the world. The cloud of dust which envelops the 
worldly soul hides from it the sight of God and 
the sight of duty. In retreat, on the contrary, the 
heart looks upon itself; it sees its state, it hears 
the voice of God, and nothing can hinder it from 
responding to His appeal. If, then, you wish to 
preserve grace, or to recover it, fly every occasion, 
all society, all reading calculated to lead you to 
dissipation. Do you hope to resist your passions 
in the midst of all that nourishes and develops 
them ? Do you think that you can preserve your 
virtue for a long time, when you expose it to the 
seductions which corrupt it? Do you think you 
can remain pious, recollected, fervent, and devoted 
to duty in the midst of objects which dissipate the 
heart, excite the imagination, and bring distaste for 
every duty? To believe it is the saddest of illu- 
sions. Alas, how many victims this illusion has 
already made ! 

Jesus, having dismissed the clamorous crowd 
which surrounded the young girl, approached her, 

334 Tweyity-tliird Sunday after Pentecost. 


and -taking her by the hand said to her: "Young 
girl, arise! it is I who^ command you." Thus it is 
t ha t(God, approaches the sinner in the measure that 
he separates from the world ; He takes him by the 
hand. This is the grace which comes to assist our 
weakness. "Return to God,'* said Cardinal Wise- 
man, "and do not fear the difficulties; when you 
would sincerely return to good, God shall place His 
hand in yours and you shall overcome every ob- 
stacle.*' O powerful Hand, Thou unitest Thyself 
to a hand which is cold in death; Thou deignest to 
touch a corpse, and Thou givest it warmth, move- 
ment, and life ! O vivifying Voice, Thou piercest 
the depths of the abyss; the empire of Death is 
shaken by Thee; she recognizes her Conqueror, 
and Thou compellest her to restore the prey of 
which she took possession. Speak to my heart, O 
Jesus, and if it resists speak to it more loudly and 
its life shall be restored. It is only Thou, O my 
God, who, by the application of Thy merits and 
the interior voice of Thy grace, can recall me to 

Third Point, — Signs of resurrection to grace. At 
this word of Jesus, " Arise !" the soul re-entered the 
body which she had abandoned, and "immediately 
the young girl arose and walked. And Jesus com- 
manded that they should give her food to eat." 
As the soul is the principle of human life, the Holy 
Spirit is the principle of the supernatural life. If 
the soul has truly risen, the Holy Spirit dwells 
there again. His presence is revealed by signs 

Resurrection of the Daughter of fair ns. 335 

which cannot Idc mistaken. Upon entefing the 
heart He spreads there a certain recollection, a 
taste for the things of God, which contrast with 
the old habits of dissipation and the pleasures 
which made up her worldly life. The spirit of 
pride has given place to the spirit of modesty and 
humility; charity succeeds hatred; liberality suc- 
ceeds selfishness. The habits of life are as differ- 
ent as the dispositions of the heart. He who only 
frequented worldly assemblies is pleased in the 
midst of sacred assemblies; virtuous friends sur- 
round him whom corrupting friends had seduced 
and led away ; charity pours into the hands of the 
poor the money which vanity dispensed in foolish 
ornaments ; words of salvation and edification fall 
from his lips, which were opened only in false- 
hood and frivolity ; visits to the amiable Guest of 
the Tabernacle replace the useless visits which be- 
got idleness ; the Spirit of God has re-entered this 

Jesus commands that food shall be given the 
young girl whom He has just restored, and thus 
compels the most obstinate minds to Recognize the 
miracle which His power had just wrought. The 
divine Master has prepared for us in the Holy 
Eucharist the food which is best suitable to sustain 
and develop our life as Christians. He who ap- 
proaches it, and approaches it often, shall find the 
strength to combat, lights in his doubts, consola- 
tions in his sorrows, and supernatural life shall flow 
in on him with superabundance. The careless 

33^ Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost, 

soul who remains away from it exposes herself 
to see the life of grace languish and little by little 
become completely extinct in her. The desire of 
this heavenly bread and the eagerness to be nour- 
ished by it are the index of the soul whom the Holy 
Spirit animates by His breath and enlightens by 
His lights. 

O divine Jesus, Thou givest life to the sinner, 
and Thou makest even the dead hear. Speak to my 
heart as Thou spoke to the daughter of Jairus. 
Grant that I may arise and walk, that I may receive 
with spiritual hunger the food Thou presentest to 
me, in order that I may live by Thy spirit and be 
nourished by Thy flesh, and that by a holy life I 
may come to share Thy glory. 

t . • i. 



"'^HERE shall be then great tribulation, such as 
^ hath not been from the beginning of the 
• • • world until now, neither shall be.'* 

There is nothing more remarkable than the des- 
tiny of the Church of God on earth. She is a vessel 
launched on the ocean of time, and destined to be 
buffeted constantly by wind and storm. The per- 
secution which she shall suffer at the end of time 
shall be, it is true, the most terrible of all, al- 
though in every century of her existence persecu- 
tors have arisen against her. The first enemy with 
which she had to contend was Judaism. The Jews, 
who had put Jesus to death, wished to stifle His 
religion in its very cradle; the high-priests, the 
doctors, the scribes, the Pharisees, and the chiefs 
of all the people were against her. But it may be 
asked : Was it necessary that so much opposition 
should be raised against her who was so weak, so 
small, and on the first day of her existence? The 
answer is No, emphatically No, if she had been a 
human institution. But she was not a human in- 
stitution ; she was divine, and God who had founded 
her sustained her. And far from falling a victim 


;^;^S Twenty -fourth Sunday after Pentecost, 

by persecution, she acquired countless disciples. 
Driven from Jerusalem and Palestine, she sends 
her apostles to all parts of the world, and to the 
conquests she had already made she shall add new 
ones; but she shall purchase them as she did the 
first — at the price of the best blood of her children. 
Hardly had the Church spoken to pagan nations 
that word which announced the glad tidings, than 
she counted innumerable disciples — at Athens, as 
well as at Rome ; among the Scythians, Arabians, 
and Persians, as well as among the Egyptians. At 
the sight of these triumphs idolatry trembled for 
its false deities. The emperors took up arms 
against this new power and began the era of blood 
and persecution. From one corner to the other of 
the Roman empire the Christians were tracked by 
savage beasts ; denounced as traitors, placed under 
the ban of the empire as infamous people, they 
were put to the rack and the flames and the lions; 
every citizen was ordered to denounce them, and 
every governor of a province was charged to put 
them to death. It was a prodigy unheard of, and 
history would not believe it if it were not compelled 
to record it in its annals. But the order of things 
was reversed. Causes have produced effects oppo- 
site to those which they should have produced. 
The Caesars, instead of stifling religion, had given 
it a new life. Edicts of proscription propagated it 
more rapidly than it would have done by the 
peaceful preaching of millions of apostles; the 
blood of the martyrs had become the seed of 

The Trials of the Church, 


Christianity. Who cannot see here the finger of 


But it was not enough for the Church to have 
combated against Judaism and id<51atry . Intestine 
strife, more terrible for a society and a kingdom 
than external foes, arose to show clearly-that God 
sustained His Church, The great heresy which 
threatened the Church with ruin commenced in the 
fourth century. It was propagated and came to 
life under different names until the sixteenth 
century, when it made its grand development. 
The apostles of heresy were sometimes powerful 
in words and works. Has it not produced an Arius 
and a Luther? Heresy opposed the Church more 
terribly than the Roman emperors. Arius found 
assistance in the legions of the Emperor Constance. 
Luther was supported by the German princes and 
the revolting peasants. But the same power which 
caused the Church to triumph over the Jews and 
pagans made her triumph over heresy, and the new 
triumph was another proof of her divine origin. 

Rationalism in its turn declared war against the 
Church, and what a war! As bold as the prince 
of Jewish priests and Roman emperors, it attacked 
individuals and went so far as to shed blood. It 
was more impious than heresy, since it was not 
limited to a contest on some disputed point of doc- 
trine. Rationalism attacked everything. Rous- 
seau denied revelation ; Hume held that the dis- 
tinction between good and evil was arbitrary; 
Helvetius preached materialism; Diderot made 

340 Twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost. 

Atheists ; Voltaire combined them all — at the head 
of the philosophic cohort he was soldier and gen- 
eral. At this epoch everything was employed to 
destroy religion — resources of genius and admi- 
rable talents, scientific studies and historical evi- 
dences, calumnies and sarcasm, but the Church 
triumphed over them all. The triumph she has 
won in the sequence of ages over all her enemies 
must assure us, in the midst of trials which assail 
her now, that she shall rise from them, as ever, 
purer and more glorious. 

Second Point. — What we should do in time of 
persecution. Our first duty is to humble ourselves 
before God and strive to appease His anger. All 
the evils which bring sorrow to the Church, all the 
trials by which human society is afflicted come 
from the sins of men. Perhaps these trials are 
provoked by our own personal iniquities. We 
should then strike our breast, and by our tears 
appease the tempests which our crimes have un- 
chained. This was the conduct of the saints. The 
prophet Daniel was not responsible for the sins 
which occasioned the captivity of the Jews in 
Babylon ; however, he numbered himself among 
the guilty ones. "We have sinned,** he said; "we 
have committed iniquities. We merit only con- 
fusion for our sins, we, our kings, and our princes, 
and our fathers.** The holy priest Esdras thus 
spoke to God: " My God, I am covered with shame 
and I do not dare to lift my eyes to Thee, because 
our iniquities have ascended to heaven.*' Strive 

The Trials of the Church. 


to entertain these sentiments so suitable to a Chris- 
tian heart, and in the trials which beset the Church 
here below be careful lest you regard yourself 

In the troubles which afflict the Church we should 
not content ourselves with being humble ; but we 
should pray for her. This duty our blessed Sav- 
iour points out in the Gospel of to-day, when He 
says: "Pray that your flight be not in the winter.** 
This He recommends most formally in the words 
of Ezechiel : " I have sought for a man who would 
restrain my anger against my people, and I have 
not found him, and I have been forced to give full 
vent to my vengeance.** These words, "I have 
sought for a man,*' should make us tremble. Alas, 
perhaps you are that unthinking soul who betrays 
the cause of the Church by neglecting its interests 
and by doing nothing for her glory. When God 
seeks some one to arrest His anger, it is a sign He 
wishes to pardon, and if He does not pardon it 
is our own fault; we have not prayed, or we have 
prayed without suitable dispositions. Henceforth, 
fulfil this duty with greatest fidelity. Pray with 
a pure heart, with fervor, with perseverance, that 
God may shorten the days of trial for good Chris- 
tians. Ask that His Church may increase and flour- 
ish more and more every day, until the coming of 
the great day, which shall see all the enemies of our 
divine Saviour conquered. 

Our third duty in the time of trouble and scandal 
is to cling most tenaciously to the teachings of the 

i i 

342 Twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost, 

Church. "There shall arise," says the Saviour, 
"false Christs and false prophets; if then some 
one tells you Christ is here, or there, do not be- 
lieve it.** To follow this warning remember these 
two principles: First, the faith of the Church is in- 
variable ; that which was believed in the days of the 
apostles is still believed, and shall be believed to 
the end of the world. Thus every novelty should 
be rejected, every new doctrine should be con- 
demned beforehand and should not seduce us. To 
believe and to be saved : this is all the Christian 
should know and practise. 

The second principle which shall preserve you 
from all error is that the Church is Catholic, that 
is to say, is universal. It follows that Christ is nei- 
ther in this or that sect. Be on your guard against 
every particular doctrine; remain firmly attached 
to the Church which is Catholic, Apostolic, and 
Roman ; whose faith is as old as herself and as 
extended as the world. She is the pillar of truth 
on which you must stand in the midst of the fluctuat- 
ing and uncertain teachings of the times in which 
we live. She is the bark of Peter which has lived 
through tempest and storm, and which shall se- 
curely conduct you to the haven of safety. 

November ist, 


\A /HEN we recall the virtues which the saints 
^^ have practised, and the happiness which is 
• • • now their sweet and glorious recompense, 
we should reflect how their examples destroy every 
excuse which our sloth constantly invents to ex- 
empt us from walking in their footsteps. 

First Point, — The first excuse which we allege to 
exempt us from being saints is taken from the 
difficulties of sanctity in itself. We are wont to 
make of the saints a class of beings apart, a sepa- 
rate race, invested with some perfections inacces- 
sible to the rest of Christians— a sublime exception 
in Christianity. Nothing is more false than this 
idea of sanctity. We employ it, however, to be 
free from the care of being holy. It is a strategy 
of nature, it is an error employed as a pretext to 
indulge in sloth. Unquestionably in the lives of 
the saints we meet with marvellous phenomena; 
God honors them with a familiarity which seems 
sometimes to separate them from us; He allows 
His love to fall on them in a manner which aston- 
ishes us, and they oftentimes respond to these 
gifts of God by an immolation of themselves which 



Feast of all Saints, 

not only terrifies but astonishes us. These are, if 
you wish, recompenses, privileges, and marvels of 
their sanctity, but it is not their sanctity itself. 
The saints are what we Christians are, but they are 
better than we are. We are ordinary Christians, 
while the saints are eminent Christians; we are 
only soldiers, they are heroes. We must admit 
there is in sanctity a certain degree of perfection 
which only heroic souls attain. But we can be saints 
without rising so high, and the degree of virtue 
necessary to be a saint, in the ordinary sense of the 
word, has nothing which should terrify our courage. 

The command which I give you, said the Lord, 
is not beyond you. To observe it, it is not neces- 
sary to quit the world and to bury yourself in soli- 
tude ; but it is within reach of every one, and its 
observance demands only the simplest require- 
ments and the most ordinary works. How many 
saints are happy in heaven now who have done 
nothing on earth which has won for them the 
admiration of men! St. Augustine says that God 
is plqased to sanctify them in the obscurity of an 
ordinary life. Who is the servant in the Gospel 
whom we see rewarded ? Is it not he who has been 
faithful in little things? Sanctity does not consist 
in doing extraordinary things. No; but it consists 
for all in fidelity to the duties of our state and in 
fulfilling them for God. There is nothing in that 
which is so difficult. 

The Christian complains of the difficulty of vir- 
tue. But how can he dare to do so with the exam- 

Difficulties and Recompense of Sanctity. 345 . 

pie of the saints before him. Ah, if we had the 
choice between apostasy and the scaffold! — if it 
were necessary for us to sell our goods, abandon 
our friends, and condemn ourselves to solitude, 
what should we say? Then it would be indeed 
difficult to be saints ! And yet we should do it, 
since the saints have. But what sanctity demands 
of us is much less than all that. It is a question 
of loving a God who is amiability itself, and not 
offending a God who is our Friend, our Father, 
and our Saviour. What is there in that that is 
above and beyond our strength ? 

The worldling complains of the difficulty of vir- 
tue. How does he who serves the world dare to 
say this? Ah! if there is something difficult, it is 
to please the world, to bow to its caprices, to sub- 
mit to all its requirements. But, O my God, Thou 
art good to all who serve Thee; amiable Master, 
Thou imposest precepts which are hard in appear- 
ance ; but it is only a pretext, since Thou hast hid- 
den sweetness under an apparent severity. 

Second Point. — Excuses drawn from exterior diffi- 
culties. Virtue meets in the world with rude and 
countless obstacles, it is true; but our error is to 
conclude from that that sanctity is impracticable 
for us. And, after all, what are the obstacles? 
They are, first, the attractions of pleasures. But is 
not the world for saints as well as for us? Have 
they not found the world as deceitful in its caresses, 
as contagious in its examples, as false in its maxims, 
and as seductive in its pleasures? We complain 


Feast of all Saints. 

of the tyranny which is exercised over our hearts, 
the love of worldly joys, the violence which we must 
do to hinder such amiable seduction ; but, let us ask, 
when was victory achieved without combat? Do 
you think it cost no violence to Magdalen, to St. 
Augustine, to St. Jerome, and countless others, to 
break the bonds which bound them to iniquity and 
attached them to the world? What, then, hinders 
you from breaking these bonds as they have done? 

There is another danger which awaits us, and 
one that is remarkable for the countless shipwrecks 
it has occasioned ; it is human respect. We could 
scarcely believe it were not our own eyes the wit- 
nesses of it. The fear of the world has become an 
obstacle to virtue. The Christian who wishes to 
serve his God must resolve to endure the railleries 
of libertines and the persecutions of the world ; but 
the saints also met human respect face to face, and 
with what courage they were able to trample it 
under their feet! St. Paul was called to preach 
Christ crucified ; but the cross is a folly in the eyes 
of the Gentiles, a scandal for the Jev/s, and he 
knows all this ! Still it is nothing to him ; Corinth, 
Rome, and Athens hear him preach the gospel of 
salvation freely. Let them despise him and calum- 
niate him, let the world rise against him — he re- 
gards the judgments of men as nothing. Do you 
think that this contempt which was shown him cost 
St. Paul no effort? 

St. Augustine had also to overcome all that is 
terrible in human respect. What a sensation was 

Difficulties and Recompense of Sanctity, 347 

created in the whole city of Milan when he broke 
away from all his past career ! What railleries on 
the part of countless young libertines who were 
formerly his best friends ! But St. Augustine tri- 
umphed over these obstacles; and it was not this 
only he had to conquer, but he had to break with 
the most ardent passions and the most inveterate 
habits. This was difficult. He himself depicts for 
us the violence of his combats, his long irresolu- 
tions, when, rolling himself on the earth, tearing 
his hair, he cursed his slavery without being able 
to free himself from its bondage. But at last, sus- 
tained by that grace which is never wanting to us, 
he broke his chains and by a generous effort arose 
above all his weaknesses. When shall you have 
the happiness to triumph over yourselves? 

O my God, Thou who art in the highest heavens, 
surrounded by the immortal choirs of the elect, 
Thou who hast combated with so much courage. 
Thou beholdest my sloth and hearest my vain ex- 
cuses. What must be Thy indignation ! How shall 
I, one day, justify the monstrous contradiction 
which exists between my faith and my morals? 
What excuse shall I allege when Thou shalt point 
out to me saints of my own age and condition, 
who, in the midst of the same obstacles which ar- 
rest me, have remained faithful in the practice of 
all their duties? O my God, give me the strength 
to take them for my models. What happiness for 
me if, after having imitated their virtues, I may 
share their felicity and their glory! 

November 2d. 


'TpO pray and to procure prayers for the dead is at 
once an act of charity towards our neighbor, 
• • • and an act of charity towards ourselves. 

First Point,— "lo pray for the dead is an act of 
charity towards our neighbor. One of the most im- 
portant acts of charity is almsgiving. Now, St. 
Francis de Sales says that in praying for the souls in 
purgatory there is a true almsgiving. When you 
pray for these poor souls you clothe their naked- 
ness, you furnish food for the hungry, you console 
the loneliness of those who are abandoned, you dry 
the tears of those who weep, and console the mis- 
fortune of those who are desolate ; in a word, by 
this single act of praying for the dead you fulfil 
all the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. O 
charity for the dead, most worthy of exercising 
our faith and our piety! How this excels all the 
other works of ordinary charity ! It has qualities 
which are wanting necessarily in other works of 
charity. It is most easy to perform, since we can 
always pray. It is opportune, since the need of 
the souls we assist is always real. It has the merit 

Commemoration of the Dead. 


of being well placed, since we assist the elect. It 
has permanency, since eternal reward results 
from it, if by our prayer a soul in purgatory ceases 
to suffer because she has entered forever into the 
bosom of her God. 

But there is a more decisive consideration. It is 
that this almsgiving is not only a duty of charity ; 
it is often a duty of justice. Here let us recall the 
past. Are there not among the souls in purgatory 
some parents, relatives, and friends of whom we 
were the occasion or the accomplices of the faults 
which they now expiate so rigorously ? Are there 
not in purgatory some friends who suffer because 
they shared in the tepidity, the vanity, the useless- 
ness of our life ? Are there not there a father, a 
mother, or relatives who are deprived of the happi- 
ness of seeing God only to expiate a fatal conde- 
scension in yielding to our weaknesses, sparing our 
sensibilities, by refusing us, through love, a coun- 
sel, a reprimand, -vthen religion commanded them 
to counsel or reprove us? Here there is no ques- 
tion of exercising charity towards them ; it is a 
simple act of justice which we owe them to pray 
for them. We are now confronted by a great act 
of reparation. Let us pray, therefore, for these 
poor souls who are unhappy because of us. We 
should offer, or cause to be offered, for them the 
holy sacrifice of the Mass. It was for the dead that 
at first all the fruits of the sacrifice were applied ; 
since Jesus, after His death, descended into Limbo, 
whence He delivered the just of the Old Law by ap- 

All Souls' Day, 

prying to them the merits of the blood which He 
had just shed. The effects of this divine blood are 
still the same. When the priest, says St. John 
Chrysostom, offers the sacrifice of the Mass, the 
angels hasten near the altar; they gather in golden 
cups the blood of the New Alliance ; they then fly 
toA^ards heaven, s4)enetrate the darkened abodes of 
the\just souls in which they are purified; they pour 
out on them the precious blood, and their sufferings 
are lighter. 

Second Point, — To pray for the dead is an excel- 
lent act of charity towards ourselves. Let us cast a 
look on our past life. How many infidelities we 
see; how many days, how many years, perhaps, 
have passed without grace or without the fervor 
of charity! True, indeed, we have repented; the 
sacramental absolution, joined to our repentance, 
has covered, before God, all the iniquities of the 
past. But if the stain no longer exists in the soul, 
the debt for the soul always exists; the sin no 
longer exists, but the obligation of punishment re- 
mains. Now, what penance have we done? Al- 
though we should give ourselves to God henceforth 
during our whole life, it shall be no less true that 
the portion of our existence which is behind that 
has been taken from Him. It is a void which our 
tears shall never fill ; it is an abyss in which we 
shall look in vain for works of grace. It depends 
on ourselves to fill that void which seems irrepa- 
rable. We have deprived God of a portion of our 
existence, then let us give to Him in exchange an- 

Commemoration of the Dead, 



other existence. We have taken from Him a por- 
tion of our soul; let us give to Him in exchange 
another soul ; let us give Him many souls, and as 
many as possible. Behold how by prayer for the 
dead we shall repair the past. 

Prayer for the dead shall be us^e^uJ for us in the 
present. When these souls shall hav^been deliv- 
ered by our prayers, shall it be possiblVfor them 
to remain indifferent to those who were here below 
the occasion and the instrument of their deliver- 
ance? Is not heaven the country of reward? Oh, 
how the delivered soul conjures God not to forget 
the souls who were on earth her benefactors! Oh, 
how in glory she intercedes and prays for us! in 
our temptations, what assistance! in our sorrows, 
what consolations! in our prayers, what help! in 
our agony, what support! And on the day of 
judgment, when we must give an account of our 
mission to Him who sent us to earth, what an ad- 
vocate, what an intercessor we shall have prepared 
for ourselves by our charity ! Let us therefore un- 
derstand that by doing everything for the souls in 
purgatory we are doing everything for ourselves. 

And when at length it shall come our turn to 
quit this earth, and when it shall be necessary for 
us to suffer in expiation before reaching glory, how 
we shall rejoice at our charity to-day ! And then 
those souls unmindful of their brethren, who forget 
the dead, and who have in their heart neither a 
remembrance nor a prayer — God shall permit that 
they shall be forgotten, as they themselves forgot 




A/i Souls' Day. 

the dead. But on compassionate souls the words of 
the Son of God shall be accomplished : " It shall be 
measured for you, as you yourself have measured 
for others/* Their memory shall be treasured in 
the minds of the faithful as the memory of the 
dead remained living in their thoughts. They 
shall speak their name at the holy altar when they 
shall have pronounced the names of those who 
have preceded them in glory! Ah, how they shall 
then rejoice that they had heard the counsels of the 
Church and followed them ! How they shall praise 
those practices which were so easy and which shall 
have been for them so fruitful ! 

O my God, enkindle in my heart devotion for the 
dead. To pray for them is to contribute to Thy 
glory ; it is to practise charity towards our neighbor 
and to labor for ourselves. May I understand it, 
and seize every opportunity of accomplishing a 
duty which is as much for the interests of my 
salvation as for the interests of Thy glory. 

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,3 v.l. Introduction: Definition, scope, object, sources, methods, history, and literature of moral theology. 

Moraity, its subject, norm, and object - v.2. Sin and the means of grace - v.3. Man's duties to himself- v.4 

Man's duties to God - v.5 Man's duties to his fellowmen 

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I I I I XX. 

A4 Page 6543210 










Vol. I. 

Introduction : Definition, Scope, 
Object, Sources, Methods, His- 
tory, and Literature of Moral 
Theology.-— Morality, its Sub- 
ject, Norm, and Object, iv & 
293 PP- $1-50. 

In Press 
Vol II. Sin and the Means of Grace. 

In Preparation 

Vol. III. Man's Duties to Himself. 

Vol. IV. Man's Duties to God. 

Vol. V. Man's Duties to His Fellowmen. 

i I 





Professor of Theology '^ 

Adapted and Edited by 




Definition, Scope, Object, Sources, Methods, History, 
and Literature of Moral Theology 



17 South Broadway, St. Louis, Mo. 


68, Great Russell St., London, W, C: 


SH. Ludovici, die 17 Maji, 19^8 

F. G. Holweck, 
Censor Librorum, 


SH. Ludovici, die 18 Maji, 19^8 

^Joannes /. Glennon, 

Archie pise opus 
COLLEQC Sti. Ludovici. 


Copyright, 1918 


Joseph Gummersbach 

All rights reserved 
Printed in U. S. A. 

1 1 


t . i I 

I . ; 

• s t « i 

* • t 



v. I 





Ch. I. Definition and Scope of Moral Theology . . . i 

Ch. II. Moral Theology in its Relation to Dogmatic The- 
ology ^ 

Ch., III. The Difference between Catholic Moral Theology 

and Protestant Ethics 7 

Ch. IV. Moral Theology in its Relation to Moral Phi- 
losophy jj 

Ch. V. The Object of Catholic Moral Theology .... 17 

Ch. VI. Individual vs. Social Ethics ....... 23 

Ch. VIL The Sources of Moral Theology ..... 26 

^^Ch. VIII. The Methods of Moral Theology 36 

Ch. IX. History and Literature of Moral Theology . . 41 

§ I. The Patristic Period 42 

§ 2. The Medieval or Scholastic Period 51 

§ 3. The Modern Period cy 

Ch. X. Division of Moral Theology 74 


Introduction ... ^„ 


Ch. I. The Subject of Morality— Man as a Rational Crea- 
ture Endowed with Free- Will ...... 79 

§ I. FreeWill as the Subjective Condition of Morality 79 

§ 2. The Natural Limits of Free-Will S3 

§ 3. The Individual Determinants of Free-Will ... 86 
§ 4. The Social Determinants of Free-Will .... 91 

§ 5- Voluntary Acts ! 08 

§ 6. The Development of Free-Will .....! 102 
§ 7- Obstacles to Voluntary Action ....,.*, 113 




Ch. II. The Objective Norm of Morality — Law, Divine 

and Human 119 

§ I. The Concept of Law IIO 

§ 2. The Moral Law of Nature 122 

§ 3. Binding Force of the Natural Law 127 

§ 4. The Positive Divine Law 135 

§ 5. The Moral Law of the New Testament . . .145 

§ 6. Human Law i55 

§ 7. The Properties of Human Law 160 

§ 8. The Obligation of Law 163 

§ 9. The Subjects of Human Law 173 

§ 10. Interpretation of the Law 177 

§ II. The Cessation of Law 180 

Ch. III. The Subjective Norm of Morality — Conscience . 182 

§ I. The Existence of Conscience 182 

§ 2. The Nature of Conscience 186 

§ 3. Requisites of a Normal Conscience 194 

§ 4. A Scrupulous Conscience 199 

Ch. IV. The Subjective-Objective Norm of Morality — 

Duty 203 

§ I. Duty and its Motives 203 

§ 2. Conflict of Duties ♦ 211 

§ 3. Probabilisni and Other Systems of Morals . . . 218 

§ 4. The Evangelical Counsels 236 

Ch. V. The Object of Morality— Human Acts .... 253 

§ I. Human Acts Defined 253 

§ 2. Imputability of Human Acts 256 

§ 3. Morality of Human Acts 264 

§ 4. Moral Habits 275 

Index 285 



Definition, Scope, Object, Sources, Methods, 
History, and Literature of Moral 



definition and scope of MORAL THEOLOGY 

I. Definition.— Catholic Moral Theology, 
broadly speaking, is the scientific exposition of' 
the ethical teaching of the Gospel, or, niore def- 
initely, that theological discipline which sets forth 
the laws, rules, and precepts man must know 
and obey in order to attain his supernatural des- 

There is a distinction between "moral" and "ethical." 
"Ethicar' is derived from the Greek rjOo's, which means in 
the singular, custom, usage, habit; in the plural (rjOrf), dis- 
position, temper, character (Latin, mores)} Every free 
act, good or bad, performed by a rational being is "ethi- 
cal;" but no act is ^'moral" unless it be ethically good.^ 

1 Cfr. I Cor. XV, 33. 

2 Cfr. St. Thomas, Summa Theol., 
xa 2ac, qu. 58, art. i (Jos. Rickaby, 
S.J., Aquinas Ethicus, Vol. I, Lon- 
don 1896, p. 167); Comment, in 

Sent., Ill, dist. 23, qu. i, art. 4. 
English text-books use **morar' and 
"ethical" synonymously, as a generic 
term and then specify morally good 
and morally bad. 


/ ^ 


The words "moral" and "immoral" are sometimes used 
with sole reference to the Sixth Commandment. Their 
true meaning is much larger. Morality is by no means 
confined to the sexual sphere. Injustice, for instance, 
is a far more dangerous form of immorality than 
transgression of the Sixth Commandment.* 

2. Scope. — In order to give a scientific exposi- 
tion of the laws that govern human conduct, 
Moral Theology must first ascertain the condi- 
tions under which man's actions will enable 
him to reach his final destiny, and then draw from 
Revelation the correct principles for guiding him 
aright both in private and public life. All the 
problems of human existence, including those of 
the social and economic order, have a religious 
and an ethical bearing, and they can not be com- 
pletely solved except in the light of Christian jus- 
tice and charity.* 

Moral Theology must avoid two extremes: — over- 
emphasizing the ascetic point of view and resolving itself 
into mere casuistry. 

Moral Theology is an independent science with 
a well-defined scope and object, and it is neither its 
sole nor its principal aim to train preachers or con- 

8 Cfr. Dante's Inferno, Canto V; 
G. Grupp in the Hist,-polit. Blatter, 
Munich, Vol. 138 (1906), p. 650. 

4 Cfr. John I, 9; XIV, 6; i Cor. 
X, 31; Col. Ill, 17. — Cfr. J. Hogan, 
Clerical Studies, Boston 1898, pp. 
197 sqq.; (A- Boudinhon, Les 
Etudes du ClergS, Rome and Paris 
1901, pp. 240 sqq.); F. Walter, 

Theorie und Praxis in der Moral, 
Paderbom 1905; J. Mausbach, Die 
kath. Moral, ihre Methoden, Grund- 
sdtze und Aufgahen, 2nd ed., Co- 
logne 1902; A. Meyenberg, Die kath. 
Moral, 2nd ed., Stans 1901; A. 
Muller, 1st die kath. Moral reform- 
bedUrftigf Fulda 1902. 

fessors.* The latter function belongs to casuistry, which 
is "the study of cases of conscience" with a view "to 
define the exact limits and frontiers of wrong-doing.'' • 

Readings.— Aug. Lehmkuhl, S.J., in the Catholic Encyclopedia, 
Vol. XIV, pp. 601-11.— J. B. Hogan, Clerical Studies, Boston 1898, 
pp. 197 sqq. — ^Thos. Bouquillon, Theologia Moralis Fundantentalis, 
3rd ed,, Bruges 1903, Introduction. — ^Thos. Slater, S.J., A Short 
History of Moral Theology, New York 1909, pp. 3 sqq.— A. Kra- 
wutzky, Einleitung in das Studium der kath. Moraltheologie, 2nd 
ed., Breslau 1898.— Jos. Rickaby, S.J., Political and Moral Essays, 
London 1902, pp. 197 sqq. — J. Mausbach, Die katholische Moral, 
ihre Methoden, Grunds'dtze und Aufgahen, 2nd ed., Cologne, 
1902. — Idem, Catholic Moral Teaching and its Antagonists (tr. 
by A. M. Buchanan), New York 1914.— J. Bucceroni, S.J., Com- 
mentarius de Natura Theologiae Moralis, Rome 1910. — A. Sweens, 
Theologia Moralis Fundantentalis, 2nd ed., Haaren 1910, pp. 5 
sqq. . 

6 Cfr. H. E. Plassmann, Die Moral 
gemdss der Schule des hi. Thomas, 
Soest 1861, p. 8; M. Jocham, Moral- 

theologie, Vol. I, Sulzbach 1852, p. 

6 Jos. Rickaby, S.J., Political and 

Moral Essays, London 1902, p. 197. 




Catholic Moral Theology is essentially theistic, 
that is, it presupposes belief in God and the free- 
dom of the human will/ Without these suppo- 
sitions there could be neither responsibility 
nor duty. Deism, Materialism, Pantheism, and 
such other systems as detach ethics from super- 
natural Revelation, may evolve the notion of 
''utility," but they can never arrive at the con- 
cepts of "good'' and *'bad/' Lacking a religious 
basis, these systems have not "the power of God 
unto salvation to every one that believeth/' ^ 
One who holds that morality is autonomous will 
occasionally do that which is commanded, and 

1 On the freedom of the will see 
M. Maher, S.J., Psychology, 4th ed., 
London 1900, pp. 394 sqq. ; Idem, 
art "Free Will'* in the Cath. En- 
cyclopedia, Vol. VI, ppw 259-263; 
Pohle-Preuss, God the Author of 
Nature and the Supernatural, and 
ed., St. Louis 1916, pp. 291 sqq.; 
R. I. Holaind, S.J., Natural Law and 
Legal Practice, New York 1899, pp. 
9S-II6; V. Cathrein, S.J., Die kath, 
Weltanschauung, and ed., Freiburg 
1909, pp. 44 sqq., 76 sqq.; W. G. 

Ward, Philosophy of Theism, Lon- 
don 1884; H. Griinder, SJ., Free 
Will, the Greatest of the Seven 
World-Riddles, St. Louis 191 1; 
Jos. Rickaby, S.J.. Free-Will and 
Four English Philosophers, London 
1906. A good historical survey of 
the free-will controversy in all its 
phases will be found in Fonsegrive's 
Essai sur le Libre Arbitre, 2nd ed., 
Paris 1896. 
2 Rom. I, x6. 





sometimes avoid that which is forbidden by the 
divine law, but not because it is commanded or 
forbidden. An atheist may abstain from mur- 
der, or help his neighbor, but being an atheist, 
he does these things from motives different from 
those that impel the theist. 

As ethics is impossible without metaphysics, so 
there can be no Moral Theology without dogiia. 
Dogma and Morals are the two great branches 
of systematic theology (theologia scholastica) 
and together cover the entire domain of Chris- 
tian belief and practice. Dogmatic Theologjr 
furnishes the rule of faith {regula credendo- 
rum), which in turn determines the rule of con- 
duct (regula agendorum). The two sciences 
may be said to postulate each other because 
dogma must bear fruit in good works, and Chris- 
tian morality could not exist if there were no re- 
vealed faith.^ 

Though Moral Theology thus stands in a most 
intimate relation to Dogmatic Theology, the two 
sciences are separate and independent. For 
virhereas the latter deals with God, His essence, 
attributes, outward operation, etc., and shows 
Him to be the sovereign good and source of all 
created goodness, the former is entirely con- 
cerned with directing man to his eternal goal. 

8Cfr. John XVII, 3; Heb. XI, 6; Mark XVI, 16; Matth. VII, 21; Jas. 

II, 26. 


Moral conduct results from the cooperation of three 
separate and independent factors. Man must first per- 
ceive the difference between right and wrong; second, 
will to do that which is right ; and, third, conform his 
actions to the moral law. "No excess of the aesthetic 
faculty," says B. Bjomson, "can outweigh a moral de- 
fect." And Ch. F. Gounod: "An ocean of talent does 
not equal a single drop of holiness." Moral autonomism, 
so called, is false and pernicious.* 

Though the moral teaching of the Catholic Church is 
drawn from Revelation, it is not without mysteries. 
There is a mystery of iniquity (mysterium iniquitatis) 
as well as a mystery of faith (mysterium fidei).^ Not all 
ethical problems can be solved by a short and clean-cut 

Readings.—F. Hettinger (tr. by V. ?tepka), Timothy; or Let- 
ters to a Young Theologian, St. Louis 1902, pp. 372 sqq.— V. 
Cathrein, SJ., Die kath. Weltanschauung, 2nd ed., Freiburg 1909. 
—Ph. Kneib, Die "Heteronomie" der christlichen Moral, Vienna 
1903.— Idem, Die "Jenseitsmorar im Kampfe urn ihre Grundlagen, 
Freiburg 1906.— J. Mausbach, Catholic Moral Teaching and its An- 
tagonists, New York 1914, PP- 3 sqq.— J. B. Hogan, Clerical 
Studies, 2nd ed., Boston 1S98, pp. 197 sqq. 

4 Cfr. C. Gutberlct, Ethik Mnd Ri- 
ligion, Munstcr 1892, pp. i93 «qQ«; 
V. Cathrein, S.J., Religion und 
Moral, 2nd cd., Freiburg 1904, PP. 
70 sqq.; Idem, Moralphilosopkie, Vol. 
I, 4th ed., pp. 372 sqq. On the 
"ethical movement" and the Society 
for Ethical Culture sec the Cath. 
Encyclopedia, Vol. V, p. 561; the 
New Schaff'Hertog Encyclopedia of 

Religious Knowledge, Vol. IV, pp. 
183 sq.; W. L. Sheldon, An Ethical 
Movement, New York 1896; W. R. 
W. Sullivan, Morality as a Religion, 
New York 1899; H. J. Bridges, Thg 
Ethical Movement, Its Principles and 
Aims, 2nd ed., London 1912. 
6 Cfr. X Tim. Ill, 9; a Thess. 

11, 7. 



I. Catholic Moral Theology is based on the 
dogmatic teaching of the one true Church. 
Protestant ethics rests on arbitrary doctrinal as- 
sumptions.^ Hence the fundamental difference 
between the two sciences. Catholics acknowl- 
edge an infallible authority in questions of both 
dogma and morals, whereas Protestants possess 
no objective rule for either, but are buffeted to 
and fro by the winds of subjectivism and error. 

Besides these there are other points of differ- 
ence. Thus Catholics, unlike Protestants, do not 
regard the Bible as the sole source of knowledge 
in matters of faith and morals. Nor do they hold 
that man by the fall of Adam and Eve has lost 
his freedom, or that God overpowers the will by 
grace. Catholics regard free-will as an essential 
condition of morality and hold that man could 
perform no moral act if he were not free. 

1 The dogmatic differences in the 
systems of Luther, Zwingli, and 
Calvin may be clearly traced in 
their moral teaching. Cfr. H. Deni- 
"fle, O.P., Luthff 9ff4 ^utherdom. 

tr. by R. Volz, Vol. I, Somerset, 
O., pp. 53 sqq.; C. von Kiigelken, 
Elhik H. Zwinglis, Leipsic 1902; P. 
Lobstein, Ethik Calvins, Strassburg 



Furthermore, Catholics do not look upon justi- 
fication as a wholly subjective and purely internal 
act, but regard it as an ethical process, condi- 
tioned (ordinarily) upon the reception of the 
Sacraments, either in re or in voto. 

Finally, true liberty, i. e., the 'liberty of 
the children of God" (sanctity), is not the be- 
ginning but the end and object of morality and re- 
ligion.^ It is not faith in Christ, making sin 
harmless, but victory over sin and passion, the 
result of a constant and patient cooperation with 


Whoever denies the above-mentioned truths 
has no foundation upon which to erect a sys- 
tem of moral teaching. Protestant ethics really 
owes its existence to an inconsistency and in some 
measure also to the fact that Protestants, con- 
sciously or unconsciously, retain many Catholic 
practices, though they have long ago rejected the 
principles underlying them. >i 

2. Protestant writers deny or ignore the funda- 
mental distinctions just outlined. They claim 
that the chief diflference between Catholic Moral 
Theology and Protestant ethics lies in the fact 
that the former is addicted to a false empiricism, 
which wrongly distinguishes between mortal and 
venial sin and between perfect and imperfect con- 

2 John Vin, 32; Rom. VIII, 21. 8 Cfr. 2 Cor. IH, 17-18. 



trition, thereby catering to human frailty and de- 
rogating from the spirit of the Gospel. 

They furthermore allege that the Catholic 
Church attributes a magical effect to her Sacra- 
ments and regards the process of justification as 
independent of the disposition of the sinner. 

Another favorite accusation is that the 
Church, harking back to the Old Testament, im- 
poses purely human laws and thereby inculcates a 
false morality, which, like that of the ancient 
Pharisees, exaggerates external acts at the ex- 
pense of character and thus breeds servility and 
hypocrisy. All this, they declare, is opposed to 
the Protestant idea of morality, which claims to 
be drawn from the teaching of St.^aul. 

The fourth and last objection against Catholic 
Moral Theology is that it is dualistic because it 
makes a distinction between precepts and coun- 
sels, and measures religious and seculars by a dif- 
ferent rule, discriminating against the latter in 
favor of the former. 

All these charges will be refuted in the course 
of this treatise. Here let us merely remark that 
the erroneous notions which so many non-Catho- 
lics entertain of the Catholic teaching on perfec- 
tion, are to a certain extent pardonable in view of 
the hyperbolic language sometimes employed by 
Catholic writers in describing the religious state. 
Perfection is not a matter concerning solely the 



select few or attainable by a small minority only. 
On the contrary, it is within reach of all. There 
is but one perfection, and that is charity, or the 
love of God, which manifests itself by obedi- 
ence to the divine will, i. e., keeping the command- 
ments and doing good. Christian perfection is 
nothing more or less than a complete and willing 
observance of the law of God. 

Readings.— J. Mausbach, Catholic Moral Teaching and its An- 
tagonists. New York 1914. PP- I3i sqq-P- Hoveler, Harnack md 
die kath. Aszese. Diisseldorf 1902.-H. A. Krose, S.J., Der ExnUss 
der Konfession auf die Sittlichkeit, Freiburg 1900.— Ph. Kneib, 
Die "JenseitsmoraV im Kampfe um ihre Grundlagen, pp. 65 sqq., 
79 sqq— V. Cathrein, S.J., Die kath. Weltanschauung, 2nd ed., pp. 
441 sqq., 453 sqq.-Hettinger-Stepka, Timothy; or Letters to a 
Young Theologian, pp. 376 sqq.-A. Devine, C.P., art. "Perfection 
in the Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. XI, pp. 665 sq.-Ii>EM, A Manual 
of Ascetical Theology, London 1902. 




As there is a purely philosophic discipline 
treating of God (theodicy), so there is a purely 
philosophic discipline dealing with morality. 
The latter, among Catholics, is commonly called 

Ethics and Moral Theology differ from each 
other in three respects: (i) as to their source, 
(2) as to their object, and (3) as to their con- 

I. Ethics, or moral philosophy, derives its 
principles and motives entirely from unaided hu- 
man reason. Its object is to ascertain what is 
right and what is wrong, and how man must reg- 
ulate his conduct to be naturally good and (sup- 
posing him in the pure state of nature) how to 
attain his natural destiny. 

1 Rom. I, 19 sqq. ; Apoc. XIV, 
14-16. — Cone, Vatic, Sess. IH, c. 2: 
"Eadem sancta mater Ecclesia tenet 
et docet, Deum, rerum omnium prin- 
cipium et finem, naturali humanae 
rationis lumine e rebus creatis certo 
cognosci posse.'* — Can. de Rev., x: 
"Si quis dixerit, Deum unum et 
verum^ Creatorem et Dominum no- 

strum, per ea quae facta sunt, natu^ 
rati rationis humanae lumine certo 
cognosci non posse, anathema jtV."— 
Cfr. Pohle-Preuss, God: His Know- 
ability, Essence, and Attributes, 2nd 
ed., St. Louis 19 14. PP. iS sqq; Th. 
H. Simar, Theologie des hi. Paulus, 
and cd, Freiburg 1883, pp. 75 sqq. 






2. Moral Theology, on the other hand, draws 
its precepts and proofs from Revelation and from 
reason enlightened by supernatural faith. It 
takes for granted that man is no longer in the 
pure state of nature, but regards him as a rational 
creature raised to the supernatural order, and 
shows how he must regulate his conduct in order 
to attain his supernatural end. 

Hence Moral Theology is more perfect than 
Ethics. Its superiority may be further seen from 
the fact that it inculcates its principles with abso- 
lute clearness and certainty =* and furnishes super- 
natural motives (fear, hope, charity) and su- 
pernatural aids (the example of Christ and the 
saints, the Sacraments, etc.) to a moral life. 
History shows that, with proper cooperation on 
the part of man. Catholic moral teaching is able 

to produce saints. . . 

3 Despite the essential differences existing 
between the two sciences, Ethics is a valuable help 
to Moral Theology, for the reason that faith pre- 
supposes natural intelligence. Thus Moral The- 
ology may be said to comprise within its scope 
natural Ethics, and to derive from it its scientific 
substructure, while on the other hand Ethics 
possesses in Moral Theology an unfailing load- 


2 John XIV, 6; Matth. V, 17-44: 
•B7<!i W X€7« iiuy—CU, Grasset, 

■- « 


It would be wrong to assert that there is no morality 
outside the Christian religion. The Church has repeat- 
edly and formally condemned the proposition that the 
virtues of the heathen are but glittering vices.^ More- 
over, pagan philosophy has exercised an undeniable influ- 
ence on Christian moralists.* 

Pagan Ethics as such, however, is very imperfect. It 
misconceives man's relation to his Creator and thereby 
robs the concept of morality of its prime constitu- 
ent. Though the science of ethics attained to a high 
stage of development among the heathen philosophers of 
antiquity, it never succeeded in stripping off its innate 
egotism. The true idea of humanity and the great 
Christian motive of charity remained entirely outside its 

A non-Catholic writer who has made a special study 
of the ethical teaching of the Greeks and Romans out- 
lines its leading characteristics as follows : " It never 
entered into the pagan concept of humanity to show 
mercy, much less love, to an enemy. This virtue is not a 
postulate of human nature or of natural reason. Even 

Morale ScienHiique et Morale Evan- 
gilique, Paris 1909, pp. 7 sqq. 

sProp. Baii Damnat., prop. 25; 
Prop. Damnat. ah Alexandra VIII, 
prop. 8; Prop. Damnat. Quesnelli, 
prop. 42, 48 (Denzinger, Enchiri- 
dion SymboJorum, DeHnitionum et 
Declarationum de Rebus Fidei et 
Morum, loth ed., by Fr. Clement 
Bannwart, S.J., n. 1025, 1298, 1392, 
1398); Cone. Trid., Sess. VI, can. 7; 
Pohle-Preuss, Grace, Actual and Ha- 
bitual, 2nd ed., St. Louis 191 7, pp. 
179 sqq. 

4 Cfr. F. Hasler, Uber das Verhdlt- 
nis der heidnischen und christUchen 
Ethik, Munich 1866; W. Redepen- 
ning, Der EinHuss des Aristoteles auf 
die Moral des hi. Thomas von Aquin, 
Goslar 1875; C. Merk, Klemens 

Alexandrinus in seiner Abhangigkeit 
von der griechischen Philosophie, 
Leipsic 1879; E. de Faye, ClSment 
d'Alexandrie, Etude sur les Rapports 
du Christianisme et de la Philoso- 
phie Grecque au He Si^cle, Paris 
1898; B. Barthel, Uber die Benu- 
tzung der Schriften Ciceros durch 
Laktanz, Strehlen 1903; P. Ewald, 
EinHuss der stoisch-ciceronianischen 
Moral auf die Darstellung der Ethik 
bei Ambrosius, Leipsic 1881; R. Tha- 
min, 5". Ambroise et la Morale ChrS- 
tienne au IV e Sikcle, Paris 1895; 
Ph. Schmidt, Ambrosius und die 
Stoa, Gottingen 1897; Th. Zielinski, 
Cicero im Wandel der Jahrhunderte, 
2nd ed., Leipsic 1908. 



among Christians it is not practiced as universally as one 
might be inclined to expect especially of those who would 
establish amicable relations between Christianity on the 
one hand and human nature and civilization on the other. 
... To love one's enemies is a supernatural virtue, found 
only among those who clearly perceive that Christianity 
requires its followers to sacrifice to God even the natural 
sentiments of the heart, — in other words, that it imposes 
regeneration and sanctification. I must admit that I 
have in mind particularly the saints of the Catholic 
Church. The noble and humane practice of treating 
wounded enemies with kindness, which flourishes among 
the Christian nations of modern times, is quite a different 
thing. Men as a rule feel no personal grudge against in- 
dividual members of an enemy nation, and if one of them 
is hurt, they naturally sympathize with him. The human- 
ity of the ancients scarcely went beyond the feelings 
of natural sympathy and antipathy. Cicero finds it quite 
in conformity with natural ethics to hate one's fellow- 
men heartily (libenter) / and says it is impossible to serve 
all.*^ Yet it is precisely this that Christianity demands for 
the sake of God and as a supernatural duty. Tacitus re- 
garded it as an honor to have many enemies.® True, the 
pagan philosophers distinguish between a mere difference 
of opinion (opinionum dissensio) and a quarrel (animo- 
rum contentio)J and hold that the former should never de- 
generate into the latter. Cicero plumes himself upon the 
fact that he and Pompey did not allow their political 
differences to disturb their friendship.® But where real 
enmity existed, the average pagan took no pains to con- 
ceal the pleasure he derived from his enemy's discomfiture. 

B Ad Attic., XIII, 49, a. 
9 Dial., 40: "Ipsa inimicitiarum 

7 Cicero, Ad FamH., II, 13, 2, 
BPkil., II, 38. 



. . . Cursing an enemy and wishing him evil, was quite 
common. . . . Christianity exercised a strong influence 
against slavery, which it opposed in principle, though out 
of regard for existing conditions and the lot of the unfor- 
tunate slaves themselves, the Church discountenanced rev- 
olutionary measures." ® 

If we wish to draw a fair comparison between pagan 
ethics and the moral teaching of Christianity, we must not 
detach single propositions from their context but weigh 
system against system. Doing so we shall find that 
the latter far surpasses the former.^® "What ancient 
Greek culture did for the intellect," says Houston Stew- 
art Chamberlain, "Christ did for the moral life; it was 
from Him that humanity first received moral power." ^* 
*To profit by suffering," writes Bishop Keppler, "was the 
highest stage attained by ancient philosophy ; the religion 
of the cross teaches us to practice charity while we 
suffer and to make our suffering productive of char- 
ity." ^^ Christianity, as even Protestants admit, was the 
first to recognize the importance and value of personality; 

9 M. Schneidewin, Die antike Hu- 
manitdt, Berlin 1897, pp. 202 sq., 
209. Cfr. M. Waldmann, Die Fein- 
desliebe in der antiken Welt und 
im Christ entum, Vienna 1902; S. 
Randlinger, Die Feindesliebe nach 
dem natUrlichen und positiven Sitten- 
gesetz, Paderborn 1906, pp. 22 sqq., 
101 sqq.; F. Steinmuller, Die Fein- 
desliebe, Ratisbon 1909, pp. 17 sqq. 
—On the attitude of the Church to- 
wards slavery see C. S. Devas, The 
Key to the World's Progress, Being 
an Essay on Historical Logic, Lon- 
don 1906, pp. 143 sqq. 

10 Cfr. H. Kellner, Hellenismus 
und Christentum, Cologne 1866; A. 
Chollet, La Morale Stoicienne en 
Face de la Morale ChrStienne, Paris 
1889, pp. 43 sqq., 59 sqq.; A. Bon- 

hoffer, Epiktet und die Stoa, Stutt- 
gart 1890; A. Dyroff, Die Ethik der 
alien Stoa, Berlin 1897, pp. 327 
sqq.; M. Baumgarten, L. A, Seneca 
und das Christentum, Rostock 1895; 
Th. Zahn, Der Stoiker Epiktet und 
sein Verhaltnis zum Christentum, 
2nd ed., Erlangen 1895; K. Jentsch^ 
Hellenentum und Christentum, Leip- 
sic 1903; L. ^£. M. Bautain, La 
Morale de I'Evangile, Paris 1855; 
Germ. tr. by J. M. Gaisser, Dig 
Moral des Evangeliums, Tubingen 
1856, pp. 349 sqq., 377 sqq. 

11 Die Grundlagen des 19. Jahr- 
hunderts. Vol. I, 4th ed., Munich 
X903. p. 207, 

12 P. von Keppler, Das Problem 
des Leidens in der Moral, 2nd cd., 
Freiburg 1904, p. 26. 

■ •?»*i'l^r*/ ■• A.-y-^!-' 



the philosophers of ancient times did not even know the 

term and hence were unable to appreciate its ethical bear- 

Readings.— Jos. Rickaby, S.J., Moral Philosophy, or Ethics 
and Natural Law, London 1908.— Chas. Coppens, S.J., A Brief 
Text-Book of Moral Philosophy, New York 1895.— V. Cathrein, 
S.J., in the Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. V, pp. 556 sqq.— J. L. 
Perrier, The Reznval of Scholastic Philosophy, New York 1909, 
pp. 136 sqq.— Th. Meyer, S.J., Institutiones luris Naturalis, Vol! 
I, 2nd ed, Freiburg 1906 ; Vol. II, 1900.— A. Castelein, S.J., Insti- 
tutiones Philosophiae Moralis et Socialis, Bruxelles 1899.— L. du 
Roussaux, ^thique, Bruxelles 1890-M. Cronin, The Science of 
Ethics, Vol. I, Dublin 1909, especially pp. 13 sq. 

The Catholic idea of the value of personality is beautifully ex- 
plained by F. Sawicki, Wert und Wiirde der Persdnlichkeit im 
Christentum, Cologne 1906, especially pp. 13 sqq. and 35 sqq. 

18 Cfr. G. Wobbermin, Der christ- 
Hche Gottesglauhe in seinem Ver- 
hdltnis eur keutigen Philosophie, 

Berlin 1902, p. 80; 2nd ed., 1907, 
pp. 130 sq. Wobbermin is a Protes- 



According to the dogmatic teaching of the 
Church, the final end and object of moral conduct 
is man's eternal happiness in Heaven (beati- 
tudo)} Basing its teaching on Sacred Scrip- 
ture,^ the Council of Trent declares that man is 
free to do good propter retributionem, i. e., for 
the sake of gaining a reward.^ But may he do 
good to be happy? 

The Catholic Church has been accused of Eu- 
daemonism or Hedonism for answering this ques- 
tion in the affirmative. We are told that the de- 

1 Cfr. St. Augustine, Confessiones, 
1. X, c. 22: " Ipsa ej^heata vita 
gander e de te, ad /fS, propter te; 
ipsa est et non est altera. Qui au- 
tern aliam putant esse, aliud sec- 
tantur gaudium neque ipsum verum, 
Ab aliqua tamen imagine gaudii vo- 
luntas eorum non avertitur." — 
Ibid., c. 23, n. 33: "Beata quippe 
vita est gaudium de veritaie. Hoc 
est enim gaudium de te, qui Veritas 
€s." — Ibid., n. 34: "Beata vita, 
quae non est nisi gaudium de veri- 
tate/* (Migne, P. L., XXXII, 
793). — St. Ignatius Loyola says: 
"Creatus est homo ad hunc finem, ut 
Dominum Deum suum laudet, reve- 
reatur eique serviens tandem salvus 
fiat," (Lib. Exercit.). — Cfr. E. 
Janvier, Exposition de la Morale 

Catholique, Vol. I, Paris 1904, pp. 
45 sqq. 

2Ps. CXVIII, 112 (Vulg.): 
"Inclinavi cor meum ad faciendas 
iustiHcationes tuas in aeternum prop- 
ter retributionem." (Cfr. G. Ho- 
berg, Die Psalmen der Vulgata, 
Freiburg 1892, p. 351). — Heb. XI, 
26: "d7rej3Xc7rcv yap (Ma;u<T^j) 
c/s TJ]v fLKTdairodofflav (in remune- 

3 Cone. Trid., Sess. VI, c. 11. — 
On man's true happiness see St. 
Thomas, Summa Theol., la 2ae, qu. 
I sqq.; V. Cathrein, SJ., Moral- 
philosophie. Vol. I, pp. 81 sqq.; M. 
Cronin, The Science of Ethics, Vol. 
I, Dublin 1909, pp. 78 sqq.; Jos. 
Rickaby, S.J., Moral Philosophy, 
London 1908, pp. 6 sqq. 




sire for happiness is a mean motive, incompati- 
ble with the idea of perfect morality. 

I. The Stoics and the followers of Kant* as- 
sert that any system of ethics that commands 
men to do good, not because it is a duty, but in 
order to obtain a reward, is egoistic and unworthy 
of a true philosopher. This is a very plausible 
objection, yet it has absolutely no basis in fact. 
Those who raise it misunderstand human nature. 
Man is so constituted that he cannot truly desire 
anything which does not afford him interior satis- 
faction. Whatever he may do or omit, he is in a 
certain sense always seeking his own happiness. 
Even the wicked sin to be happy.^ When a man 


4 On Kant's ethical teaching see 
K. Fischer, Geschichte der Pkiloso- 
phie. Vol. IV, 3rd ed., Munich 1882; 
Jos. Rickaby, S.J., Moral Philosophy, 
pp. 1 1 5- 1 19, London 1908; Wm. 
Turner, History of Philosophy, pp. 
540 sqq., Boston 1903. — For a refu- 
tation of Kant see C. Didio, Die 
moderne Moral und ihre Grund- 
prinzipien, Freiburg 1896, pp. 64 
sqq.; Ph. Kneib, Die "Lohnsuchf* 
der christlichen Moral, Vienna 1904, 
pp. 7 sqq.; Idem, Die "JenseiU- 
moral,'* pp. 6 sq. and 109 sqq.; 
Schneider, Gottliche Weltordnung, 
2nd ed., pp. 517 sqq. — On Eudae- 
monism cfr. F. J. Stein, Historisch- 
kritische Darstelhing der pathologi- 
schen Moralprinzipien, 2nd ed., 
Wiirzburg 1879, pp. 55 sqq.; J. 
Holtzmann, Moderne Sittlichkeits- 
theorien und christliches Lehent- 
ideal, Strassburg 1907; Cath, En- 
cyclopedia. Vol. I, pp. 369 sq.; Vol. 
VI, p. 640; Vol. VII, p. 13a. 

5 St. Augustine, Senn, in Ps., 
CXVIII, 1, n. i: "Beatitudinem, 
quam nemo est qui non expetat. 
Quis enim unquam vol potest vel po- 
tuit vel poterit inveniri, qui nolit esse 
heatusf . , . Beatum quippe esse 
tain magnum est bonum, ut hoc et 
boni velint et mali. Nee mirum est 
quod boni propterea sunt boni, sed 
illud est mirum, quod etiam mali 
propterea sunt mali, ut sint beati. 
Nam quisquis libidinibus deditus 
luxurid stuprisque corrumpitur, in 
hoc malo beatitudinem quaerit et se 
miserum putat, quum ad suae con- 
cupiscentiae voluptatem laetitiamque 
non pervenit, beatum vero non dubi- 
tat iactare quum pervenit. Et quis- 
quis avaritiae facibus inardescit, ad 
hoc congregat quocunque modo di- 
vitias, ut beatus sit, . . . in omnibus 
sceleribus beatitudinem quaerit." 
(Migne, P, L., XXXVII, 1501 sq.) 
Idem, Serm. in Ps., CL, c. 3, n. 4: 
'Warn et qui bonus est, ideo bonus 



desires something for others, he does not de- 
sire it purely for their sake, but partly also be- 
cause the desired object has some value for him- 
self. In this sense the desire for happiness and 
egoism are necessary constituents of every human 
act. A wholly unselfish act of the will, i.e., 
one in no way related to the personal satisfaction 
or happiness of the agent, is impossible. Even 
the so-called unselfish love that causes men to 
make sacrifices for others or for the sake of 
ideals, is not entirely free from ^'selfishness," be- 
cause when man makes a sacrifice, he does it for 
his own satisfaction as well as for the sake of 


Moreover, man's will and destiny are insepar- 
able from his nature because it is of the very es- 
sence of the will to desire and tend towards beati- 
tude, which, being ''a state made perfect by the ag- 
gregate sum of all things good," ^ is identical with 
God as the sovereign good and source of all 
goodness. Now if God and eternal happiness 
are synonymous terms, it is perfectly consistent 
to be good in order to attain eternal happiness, 
and there is no sense in inculcating "pure" 

est, ut beatus sit; et qui malus est, 
malus non esset, nisi inde se beatum 
esse posse speraret" {ibid., 
XXXVIII, 8o9).-Cfr. St. Thomas, 
Summa Theol., la 2ae, qu. 29, art. 4. 
6 "Status omnium bonorum aggre- 
gatione perfectus" (Boethius). — 
St Thomas, Summa c. Gent., 1. II, 

c. 48, n. 3; Idem, Summa Theol., 
I a, qu. 26, art. i, ad 1; la 2ae, qu. 
3, art. 2, ad 2.— Cfr. Pohle-Preuss, 
God, the Author of Nature and the 
Supernatural, 2nd ed., St. Louis 
1916, pp. 190 sqq.; God: His Know- 
ability, Essence, and Attributes, pp. 
93 SQQ- 





duties, i.e., such as abstract entirely from the mo- 
tive of self-love. Therefore, whilst we do not 
deny that Catholic moral teaching, like every 
other rational system of ethics, contains a eudae- 
monistic element, nay even a strain of ''egoism,'' '' 
we must insist that this admixture is justifiable 
and supplies a most effective antidote against pre- 
cisely that false egotism which our enemies 
charge against us, inasmuch as it emphasizes true 
charity (love of God and neighbor).® We claim 
that the moral teaching of Christ effectively 
reconciles and combines altruism with egoism. 

2. Certain Quietists and pseudo-mystics de- 
nounced the habit of doing good for the sake of 
obtaining an eternal reward as at best an imper- 
fect virtue, and demanded an absolutely unselfish 
and disinterested love (amour desinteresse) , 
which expects no reward and would even sur- 
render its claim to eternal beatitude if God so 
willed. This is construing an imaginary oppo- 
sition between God as the highest, and eternal 
happiness as a merely secondary good.® 

Such teaching is philosophically untenable and 
opposed to Revelation. ^>3acred Scripture again 

7 Cfr. S. Ruber, Die Gluckselig- 
keitslehre des Aristoteles und des hi. 
Thomas von Aquin, Freising 1893; 
C. Gutberlet, Ethik und Religion, 
pp. 158 sqq.; C. Didio, Die moderne 
Moral, Freiburg 1896, pp. 21 sqq.; 
B. Peters, Die christlichen Begriffe 
der Sittlichkeit und Seligkeit, Mun- 
ster 1902. 

8 Cfr. Mattb. XXII, 37-39. 

»Cfr. Pohle-Preuss, The Sacra- 
ments, Vol. Ill, St. Louis 191 7, pp. 
136 sq.; H. Heppe, Geschichte der 
quietistischen Mystik, Berlin 1875; 
E. A. Pace in tbe Cath. Encyclope- 
dia, Vol. XII, pp. 608 sqq. 

and again exhorts men to strive for eternal happi- 
ness and promises the joys of Heaven as a re- 
ward for obeying the law of God.^" 

If God did not reward virtue, He would be un- 
just, the moral order would hang in the air, and 
the so-called moral law would be nothing but the 
fiat of an absolutistic tyrant, and consequently 


The alleged distinction between beatitude as the 
enjoyment of God and beatitude as a created en- 
tity separable from Him, has no basis in fact. 
Catholic theologians, it is true, often speak of 
heavenly joys and pleasures; but these are 
mere accidents. The essence of eternal beati- 
tude consists in the possession of God. *T am 
thy . . . reward exceeding great." " 

Therefore the object of morality, and conse- 
quently of Moral Theology, is man's perfection 
and eternal happiness. He is destined to be in- 
timately united to God, without however surren- 
dering his personality or individuality." 

Fenelon's so-called amour de sinter esse is contrary to 
the teaching of the Fathers. Listen, for instance, to St. 
Bernard's description of the successive stages through 
which the soul passes on her way from inordinate self- 
love to pure charity: 

10 Cfr. Matth. V, 12, 46; X, 41 
«q.; Luke VI, 23, 32-35- 

11 Gen. XV, i.— Cfr. Prop. Dam- 
nat. Mich, de Molinos, prop. 7. ", 
13 (Denzinger-Bannwart, n, 1227, 

1232 sq.); Innocent XII's Brief 
"Quutn alias," of March 12, 1699 
(ifrii., n. 1327 sqq.) 
12 Cfr. Gal. II, 20. 



"At first man loves himself for his own sake, for he 
IS carnal-minded and takes pleasure in nothing but him- 
self. When he perceives that he cannot exist by and 
through himself, he begins to seek and love God as in- 
dispensable to his own existence. In this second stage he 
loves God, but for his own sake, not God's. When, how- 
ever, impelled by his own need, he has begun to honor God 
and to occupy his mind with Him in meditation, reading, 
prayer, and obedience, he gradually learns to know Him 
better and loves Him more ardently. And when he has 
tasted how sweet the Lord is, he enters upon the third 
stage of charity, x. e., he loves God no longer for his own 
sake, but for God's sake. In this stage he presumably re- 
mains, and I do not know whether any man ever at- 
tains the fourth stage, in which God is loved solely for 
His sake. Let those who have experience tell us about 
it; I for one regard this stage as unattainable [here be- 
low], though it will undoubtedly be the portion of the 
good and faithful servant when he enters into the joy of 
the Lord and becomes inebriated with the fulness of the 
house of God." ^» 

Readings.— St. Thomas, Swmma TheoL, la 2ae, qu. 1-5.— J L 
Perrier, The Revival of Scholastic Philosophy in the Nineteenth 

un^'^V'^^'^ ^""'^ '^' PP- ^38 sqq.-M. F. Dinneen, art. 
Oood, The highest," in the Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. VI pp 
640 sqq^M. Maher, S.J., art "Happiness," ihid,. Vol. VII, pp! 131 
sqq.-M. Cronin, The Science of Ethics, Vol. I, Dublin 1909, pp. 
245 sqq.— C. Gutberlet, Ethik und Naturrecht, 3rd ed., Miinster 
1901, pp. 3 sqq.— V. Cathrein, S.J., Moralphilosophie, Vol. I, 4th 
ed., pp. 81 sqq., 89 sqq.-Chr. Pesch, SJ., Praelectiones Dog^ 
mattcae, Vol. Ill, 3rd ed., pp. 232 sqq. 

18 £/»«#., XI, n, S; De DUigendo 
Deo, c. 15, n. 39 (Migne, P, L„ 
CLXXXII, X13, 998) .—Cfr. J. Ric8, 

Z>aj geistUche Lehen in seinen Ent- 
wicklungsstufen, Freiburg 1906, pp. 
170 sqq. 



The human race is an organic whole, and each 
member shares in the responsibility for all. Each 
forms part of the whole; no one stands alone. If 
we regard man as an individual and then the hu- 
man race as a whole, we obtain a clear-cut division 
of moral science. Individual ethics considers 
man in his personal determinations, without re- 
gard to the society to which he belongs. There 
is a school of writers who maintain that man is 
responsible for himself alone and that the high- 
est aim of morality is to perfect the individ- 
ual by detaching him as much as possible from 
society and the companionship of his fellowmen. 
This theory is sometimes called Spiritualistic 
Pessimism. Opposed to it is another extreme, 
which sees in man merely a member of society, 
whose sole and sovereign purpose is to sacrifice 
himself for the race. This theory is known by 
the name of Altruism or Social Eudaemonism.^ 

l"Vivre pour autrui.** — On Altru- Comte, Glasgow 1885; Costa-Rosetti, 

ism see T. Brosnahan, S.J., in the Philosophia M oralis, thes. 99; John 

Cath. Encyclopedia, Vol. I, pp. 369 F. Ming, S.J., The Data of Modern 

sq.; Caird, The Social Philosophy of Ethics Examined, New York 1904. 





The New Testament assigns a more important 
place to individual than to social ethics, as it con- 
siders man chiefly as the possessor of an im- 
mortal soul, which belongs to God, because it is 
His gift.^ But social ethics also has a place in 
the Gospels.^ The way in which the two are 
combined by the inspired writers shows that they 
belong together and neither should be exagger- 
ated at the expense of the other. 

This combination of individual with social 
ethics corresponds perfectly to man's twofold po- 
sition in the world. Every man has a distinct vo- 
cation and must work out his own salvation; 
not, however, alone but as a member of, and 
in connection with, society and the Church.^ 
Hence extreme Individualism is unjustifiable. 
On the other hand, no man can be a useful mem- 
ber of society unless he is trained to obey the laws 
of morality. Besides, the final end and pur- 
pose of society consists in the moral perfection 

2 Matth. X, 28; XVI, 26; Luke X, 
41 sq.; John XII, 25; i Cor. IX, 27; 
XIII, 1-3. 

8 Cfr. Matth. V, 44 sqq.; XIX, 19; 
XXII, 39; Rom. XIII, 9; I Cor. X, 
24; Gal. V, 13 sq.; VI, 2; Phil. 
II, 4. — Cfr. St. Augustine, Serm. in 
Ps., XCIX, n. 7: "Servum te cari- 
tas faciat, quia liberum te Veritas 
fecit." (Migne, P. L., XXXVII, 


4 Cfr. Rom. XV, 1-3; i Cor. XII, 
12 sq. — St. Augustine, De Civ. Dei, 
IV, c. 3: "Singulus quisque homo, 
ut in sermone una Utera, ita quasi 

114). — St. 

est civitatis et regni 

terrarum occupatione 

(Migne, P. L., XLI, 

Thomas, De Regimine 

Princip., I, c. i: '*Naturale est 
homini, ut sit animal sociale et polir 
ticum, in multitudine vivens." — 
Seneca, De Vita Beata, c. 30: "Qui 
se deteriorem facit, non sibi tantum- 
modo nocet, sed etiam omnibus eis, 
quibus melior factus prodesse po- 
tuerit." — Idem, De Benefic, V, c. 
19: "Nullum beneHcium est, cuius 
commodum non et proximos tangat, 
nonnunquam etiam longius positos." 



of its members. Hence a one-sided ethical So- 
cialism would be as untenable as exaggerated in- 
dividualism. The truth lies between the two 
extremes. Individual must be combined with 
social ethics.^ ''Ora et lahora" is a fundamental 
maxim of the Christian life. 

Readings. — M. Cronin, The Science of Ethics, Vol. I, Dublin 
1909, pp. II sqq. — ^H. Klein, Individual- und Sozialethik, Bern 1904. 
— A. Dorner, Individuate und soziale Ethik, Berlin 1906, pp. 75 
sqq., 128 sqq. — P. Gaultier, L'Ideal Moderne, Paris 1908, pp. 76 sqq. 
— R. I. Holaind, S.J., Natural Law and Legal Practice, New York 
1899, pp. 171 sqq. — ^V. Cathrein, SJ., in the Catholic Encyclo- 
pedia, Vol. V, pp. 563 sqq.— Th. Slater, S.j., Questions of Moral 
Theology, New York 1915, pp. 191 sqq. — A. Sweens, Theologia 
Moralis Fundamentalis, 2nd ed., Haaren 1910, pp. 16 sqq. 

6 Cfr. Th. Sommerlad, Das Wvrtschaftsprogramm der Kirche im Mittelalter, 

Leipsic 1903, pp. 7 sq. 




The sources from which Moral Theology 
draws its data and maxims are two — reason and 

I. Reason. — Reason is the depositary of what 
we may call natural Revelation, i. e., the moral law 
of nature.^ Though impaired by sin, reason is 
able to form moral concepts. 

To act in accordance with the dictates of reason 
is moral ( morally good ) ; to act against those dic- 
tates is immoral (morally bad). 

It is necessary, however, to test in the light of 
supernatural Revelation the moral concepts fur- 
nished by reason. In adapting these concepts to 
the teaching of Revelation, reason again plays 
an indispensable part,^ in so far, namely, as it is 

1 Cfr. Rom. II, 14 sq.— F. X. 
Linscnmann, Lehrbuch der Moral- 
theologie, Freiburg 1904, pp. 28 sq.; 
Chr. Pcsch, S.J., Praelectiones Dog- 
maticae. Vol. I, 4th ed., p. 407. 

2 Cfr. St. Thomas, Summa TheoL, 
I a 2ac, qu. 19, art 3 and 4; qu. 
90, art. i: **Regula et mensura 
actuum humanorum est ratio, quae 
est primum principium actuum hu- 
manorum. Rationis enim est, ordi- 
nare ad finem, qui est primum princi- 
pium in agendis." This passage is 
•ufficient to disprove the oft-repeated 

charge that the Scholastics deduce 
morality from "the revealed will of 
God, which is incomprehensible." 
(Cfr. C. Luhr, 1st eine religxonslose 
Moral moglichf Berlin 1899, p. 
26). — St. Thomas clearly admits 
that reason is the rule of morality, 
though, of course, he means that rea- 
son which, in its last analysis, is 
"the divine Intellect manifesting it- 
self in us." — Cfr. Cicero, De OMciis, 
I, 28, 100: "Naturam si sequemur, 
nunquam aberrabimusJ 





a necessary condition of Revelation and of the 
positive divine law.^ 

Reason is the first and principal source of hu- 
man knowledge, not in the ontological, but in the 
logical order. Unless man uses his reason prop- 
erly, he cannot receive revealed truths or make an 
act of faith in God. 

Nevertheless experience teaches that in most 
matters pertaining to salvation faith precedes 
reason and prepares it for the light of Revelation. 

11. Revelation.— The second source of 
Moral Theology is supernatural Revelation, as 
contained in the writings of the Old and New 
Testaments and in the oral tradition of the 
Church (traditio ecclesiastica).^ 

3 Cfr. St. Thomas, De Veritate, 
qu. 14, art. 9, ad 8; Summa TheoL, 
2a 2ae, qu. i, art. 4* ad 2; Cone*. 
Vatic, Sess. Ill, c. 3 and 4; St. 
Augustine, Epist., 120, n.^ 3: "Absit, 
inquam, ut ideo credamus, ne ra- 
tionem accipiamus sive quaeramus: 
quum etiam credere non possemus, 
nisi rationales animas haberemus. 
Ut ergo in quibusdam rebus ad doc- 
trinam salutarem pertinentibus, quas 
ratione nondum percipere valemus, 
sed aliquando valebimus, fides prae- 
cedat rationem, qua cor mundetur, 
ut magnae rationis capiat et perferat 
lucem, hoc utique rationis est." 
(Migne, P. L., XXXIII, 453) ; Idem, 
De* Ord., II, n. 16, 26 (P. L., 
XXXII, 1002). 

4 Cfr. Cone. Trident., Sess. IV, 
Deer, de Canon, Script.: "Perspi- 
ciensque is, synodus] hanc verita- 

tem (the dogmas of the faith) et 
disciplinam (moral teaching) con- 
tineri in libris scriptis et sine scripto 
traditionibus, quae ipsius Christi ore 
ab Apostolis acceptae aut ab ipsis 
Apostolis Spiritu Sancto dictante 
quasi per manus traditae ad nos 
usque pervenerunt, orthodoxorum 
Patrum exempla secuta, omnes li- 
bros tarn Veteris quam Novi Testa- 
menti, quum utriusque unus Deus 
sit auctor, nee non traditiones ipsas, 
tum ad Udem, tum ad mores perti- 
nentes, tamquam vel oretenus a 
Christo, vel a Spiritu Sancto dicta- 
tas et continua successione in ecflesia 
catholica conservatas, pari pietatis 
affectu ac reverentia suscipit et vene- 
ratur.'* {Cone. Vatic, Const, dogm. 
de Ude cath., c. 2); St. Augustine, 
Contr. Epist. Manich. Fund., c. 5, n. 
6: '*Ego evangelio non crederem. 





I. The Sacred Scriptures of both Testaments 
are called immediate divine sources of Moral The- 
ology because they embody God's supernatural 
Revelation to mankind and the manifestation of 
His will. "What things soever were written, 
were written for our learning: that through pa- 
tience and the comfort of the Scriptures, we 
might have hope/' ^ 

a) The Old Testament contains many moral 
precepts and examples. It is true these precepts 
and examples are far inferior to the ideal set up 
by the Gospel, nay some of them even fall short 
of the postulates of unaided reason.® Neverthe- 
less they deserve careful study. In order to be 
able to estimate the moral teaching of the Old 
Testament at its true value, however, we must 
first consider the general character of the Ancient 
Covenant, and, secondly, distinguish between 
universally valid laws on the one hand, and, on 
the other, mere personal opinions and such 
precepts as owe their origin to the peculiar ethos 
of the Chosen People. Christ Himself clearly 
indicated the true relation of the moral teach- 
ing of the Old to that of the New Testament.^ 

nisi me catholicae ecclesiae commo- 
veret auctoritas." (Migne, P. L,, 
XLII, 176). 

6 Rom. XV, 4— Cfr. Leo XIII, 
Encyclical "Providentissimus Deus/* 
of Nov. 18, 1893 (English tr. in H. 
Pope, O.P., The Catholic Student's 
"Aids'* to the Bible, London 19 13, 
pp. xi-xl)*— H. Hopfl, Das Buck 

der BUcher, Freiburg 1904, pp. 190 
sqq. ^ 

6 Cfr. St. Augustine, Contra Gau- 
dent., I, c. 31, n. 37 (Migne, P. L., 
XLIII, 729); Idem, Epist., 204, n. 7 
(P. L., XXXIII, 941); St. Thomas, 
Summa Theol., 23i 22it, qu. no, art. 
3, ad 3. 

TMatth. V, 31-28, 31-45; cfr. 

b) While the New Testament infinitely tran- 
scends the Old in its ethical teaching, it does not 
contain a complete code of morality, but merely 
points out certain fundamental truths, which, as 
Christ Himself declared, are to be interpreted 
spiritually rather than literally.® These truths 
are for the most part couched in parables 
and proverbs, which, though picturesque and im- 
pressive, are quite often indefinite. Even the life 
of our Saviour — the highest ideal of morality set 
up for our imitation ® — cannot always be followed 

2. Ecclesiastical Tradition is the third source 
of Moral Theology. The Church, through her 
teaching office, preserves and interprets both the 
natural and the divine laws, and issues precepts 
and decisions of her own, some positive^, some 
negative,^^ applying the principles of irlorality 

I Tim. I, 8-10.— Cfr. J. B. Hirscher, 
Die christliche Moral, Vol. I, 5th 
ed,, Tubingen 1851, pp. 20 sqq. 

8 Matth. V, 29, 39; XIX, 29; John 
XVIII, 22; I Cor. VI, 12.— St. Jer. 
ome says (In Galat., I, 11, 12): 
"Nee put emus in verbis scripturae 
esse evangelium, sed in sensu; non 
in superficie, sed in medulla; non 
in sermonum foliis. sed in radice 
orationis." (Migne, P. L., XXVI, 
322). —Cfr. Kneib, Die "Jenseits- 
moral," pp. 213 sqq. 

8 Matth. XI, 25K John XIII, 15; 
Rom. VIII, 29; PiiU. II, 5; 2 Pet. 
II, 21. 

10 A good many things recorded 
in the lives of the saints are mere 
eccentricities; see E. Lucius, Das 

monchische Leben, pp. 145 sq., 152 
sq., 154, and O. Zockler, Aszese und 
Monchtum, 2nd ed., 2 vols., Frank* 
fort 1897. 

11 The negative precepts of the 
Church usually take the form of 
propositiones damnatae. — Collec- 
tions of the more important theses 
officially condemned at various times 
have been made by Denzinger in his 
Enchiridion Symbolorum, already 
referred to, and by D. Viva, S.J., 
Damnatae Theses . . . ad Theologi- 
cam Trutinam Revocatae, 3 vols., 
Naples 1708. Cfr. J. Bucceroni, En- 
chiridion Morale, 4th ed., Rome 
1905; Aug. Rohling, Medulla Theol. 
Mor., St. Louis 1875, PP* 473 sqq. 






and enforcing external obedience to the law (e. 
g., the sanctification of the Lord's Day, the disci- 
pline of Penance, matrimonial impediments, etc.) 

Such disciplinary ordinances, in contradistinc- 
tion to universal.laws, often have only a temporal 
or local importance. ^^ 

Needless to add, the Apostolic traditions 
handed down from the early days of the Church 
excel in dignity all later ecclesiastical precepts, 
and general laws are of greater weight than 
purely local ordinances. 

3. Another important source of Moral The- 
ology is found in the lives of the saints, which re- 
flect the Christian ideal more or less perfectly.^^ 
However, not everything the saints have done, or 
are alleged to have done, is so exemplary that we 
may take it for our guidance. Rather must we 
apply to them the rule given by St. Augustine in 
regard to certain Biblical characters— ''We should 
not imitate everything we read about these holy 
persons." ^* St. Francis de Sales observes that 

12 Cfr. Benedict XIV, De Synodo 
Dioecesana, X, 8, i: "Disciplina 
varia est pro locorum et temporum 
ratione, ac fieri potest, ut aliqua con- 
stitutio, licet plerisque orbis chri- 
stiani dioecesibus utilis, alicui tamen 
provinciae out peculiari dioecesi 
minus opportuna dignoscatur,*' — 
Ibid., V, 3, 8: "Mutantur in dies 
hominum mores^ mutantur rerum 
circumstantiae, et quod uno tem- 
pore utile erat, postea inutile et 
quandoque perniciosum evadit." 

18 Cfr. St. Ambrose, De Joseph 
Pair., c. I, n. i : "Sanctorum vita 
caeteris norma vivendi est." — Ibid., 
n. 4: "... et cognoscamus illos 
non naturae praestantioris, sed ob- 
servationis, nee vitia nescisse, sed 
emendasse," (Migne, P. L.. XIV, 
641, 643).— Cfr. T. Halusa, Ord. 
Cist., Flores S. Bernardi, Ratisbon 
1898, 87, n. 232; H. Joly, Psychol- 
ogy of the Saints, London 1898, pp. 
6 sq., 24 sqq. 

14 "Non omnia, quae a Sanctis vel 

some of the things the saints did are to be ad- 
mired rather than imitated. 

The biographies of the saints contain a wealth of ma- 
terials for a history of the religious life and for a general 
history of civilization. But they present a difficult prob- 
lem to the critical historian because many of them are not 
as old as they claim to be, and most of them embody 
unauthenticated legends. In order properly to estimate 
the lives of the saints, particularly those that have been 
handed down to us from the Middle Ages, we must pay 
due regard to the fact that they were professedly written 
for the edification of the faithful, and that the compil- 
ers frequently dressed up scanty and unreliable data to 
"point a moral and adorn a tale." Historic accuracy, as 
a rule, was far from the purpose of these pious scribes, 
and the most that can be said for their productions, from 
the historian's point of view, is that the things they re- 
late may conceivably have happened in the manner 

Recent researches leave no doubt that the great ma- 
jority of medieval hagiographers worked mechanically in 
accordance with a ready-made scheme. Miracles they 
had read or heard about others they attributed to the 
saint whose story they were engaged in writing. We 
have instances of entire legends being transferred from 
one saint to another or taken from pagan mythology. 

In view of these facts it is rather remarkable that of 
the saints' lives that have come down to us comparatively 
few are wholly fictitious. The majority contain a kernel 

iustis viris legimus, transferre debe- 
mus in mores.*' (Contra Mendac, 
C 9, n. 22; Migne, P. L., XL, 532). 
15 Sec E. Michael, S.J., Geschichte 
des deutschen Volkes, Vol. Ill, Frei- 

burg 1903, p. 392; the Fortnightly 
Review, St Louis, Mo., Vol. XXIV 
(191 7), No. 7, p. 100. — M. Huber, 
S.J., Die Nachahmung der Heiligen, 
2 vols., Freiburg 19 12. 





of truth. This is admitted even by such hyper-critics 
as Harnack.^* 

A legend, in the strict sense of the term, is a story or in- 
cident unauthenticated by history. It is the work of the 
people, that "mysterious and many-headed agent, uncon- 
trolled in his methods, swift and unfettered . . . , perpet- 
ually in labor with fresh products of his fancy . . . Beside 
him there is the man of letters, the editor, who stands 
before us as one condemned to a thankless task, compelled 
to follow a beaten track, but giving to all he produces a 
deliberate and durable character. Both together have col- 
laborated in that vast undertaking known as The Lives of 
the Saints,' and it is important for us to recognize the part 
played by each in this process of evolution, which, though 
the work of all time, is incessantly renewed." ^^ Legends 
are mainly poetry, and should be judged as such. Poetic 
fancies may give pleasure, but the Truth alone has a claim 
to veneration and assent. St. Francis de Sales' famous 
dictum that the lives of the saints are "the Gospel put into 
practice," ^® apphes only to the historic lives, not to the 

le Cfr. Harnack*s paper on "Leg- 
ends as Historical Sources" in the 
Preussische Jahrbiicher, 1890, pp. 
249 sqq. ; H. Achelis, Die Martyrolo- 
gien, Berlin 1900; H. Quentin, 
O.S.B., Les Martyrologes Histo- 
riques, Paris 1908. 

17 H. Delehaye, S.J., Les Ligendes 
Hagiographiques, 2nd ed., Bruxelles 
1906 (English tr. by Mrs. V. M. 
Crawford, The Legends of the 
Saints: An Introduction to Hagir 
ology, London 1907, p. 11). Cfr. H. 
Gunter, Legend enstudien, Cologne 
1906; K. A. H. Kellner, Heortologie, 
and ed., Freiburg 1906, pp. 155 sqq. 
(English translation by a Priest of 
the Diocese of Westminster, under 
the title, Heortology: A History of 
the Christian Festivals from their 

Origin to the Present Day, London 
1908, pp. 203 sqq.); H. Menge, Ho- 
hen die Legendenschreiber des Mit- 
telalters Kritik geubtT Munster 
1908; L. Zopf, Das Heiligenleben im 
zehnten Jahrhundert, Leipsic 1908, 
pp. 6 sqq., 31 sqq., 108 sqq. 

18 Avis sur la Vraie Mani^re de 
Precher, ch. 3, n. 2: *'Qu'est ce 
autre chose la vie de saints que 
VEvangile mis en auvref" — Cfr. St. 
Gregory the Great, Horn, in Ezech., 
I, 10, n. 38: "In sanctorum patrum 
vita cognoscimus, quid in sacrae 
scripturae volumine intellegere debea- 
mus. Illorum quippe actio nobis 
aperit hoc, quod in suis praedicaiionir 
bus pagina testamentorum dicit. 
(Migne. P, L., LXXVI, 901). 


poetical inventions of authors who could not have recorded 
the facts even if they had set out to do so, for the simple 
reason that they had no reUable knowledge of them. 

4. The teaching of Catholic moralists {doc- 
trinay^ is a source of Moral Theology in so far as 
these writers testify to the belief and practice of 
the faithful at different times and in different 
countries, and digest and develop moral ideas and 
principles with due regard to political and social 
conditions. Note, however, that whereas the 
basic principles of morality are unalterable and 
never lose their binding force, particular duties 
and rights may change. General laws must be 
constantly adjusted to varying conditions. 

The teaching of Catholic moralists has to be 
judged in the light of the following considera- 
tions : 

(i) There is a clear-cut distinction between 

an author's testimony to the teaching of the 
Church and his private opinions. Every man is 
more or less a child of his age and country, and 
ethical views change somewhat with social and 
other conditions. 

(2) The highest authority belongs to those 
writers who have been officially proclaimed "Doc- 
tors of the Church," especially St. Thomas Aqui- 
nas (1567), St. Alphonsus de' Liguori (1871), 

l»Cfr. Pesch, Praelect. Dogmat., Vol. I, 4tl» ed., pp. 388 sqq., 400 sqq. 




and St. Francis de Sales ( 1877) .^^ However, the 
approbation given to these authors does not mean 
that the Church endorses all their teachings. 
Even the oft-quoted decrees in favor of the writ- 
ings of St. Alphonsus are negative rather than 
positive and have no dogmatic character.^^ 

(3) Due attention must be paid to an author's 
position in the Church,— pope, bishop, or priest,— 
and to the purity of his morals. 

The principle, "Tantum valet quantum probat" applies 
to all theologians. Not even St. Thomas is an exception. 
"Neither in Dogmatic nor in Moral Theology," says a re- 
cent writer, "is it sufficient to appeal to the authority of St. 
Thomas without regard to the arguments on which he 

20 In the Bull of Clement VII 
(Nov. 26, 1523) proclaiming the 
canonization of St. Antoninus of 
Florence, that eminent writer, too, 
is styled "Doctor." 

21 Pius VII, on May i8. 1803, 
approved a decree of the S. C. R., in 
which that sacred Congregation de- 
clared that it had found nothing de- 
serving of censure in the writings of 
St. Alphonsus (''nihil in eis cen- 
surd dignum esse repertum*'). The 
S. Penitentiary, on July 5, 1831, re- 
plied to two questions: "(j) Utrum 
s, theologiae professor opinion es, 
quas in sua theohgia morali profi- 
tetur beatus Alphonsus a Ligorio 
sequi tuto possit ac proHteri," and 
"{z) An sit inquietandus confessa- 
rius, qui omnes beati Alphonsi a 
Ligorio sequitur opiniones in praxi 
sacri poenitentiae tribunalis, hoc sold 
ratione quod a S. Sede Apostolica 
nihil in operibus illius censurd dig- 

num repertum fuerit." The answer 
was: *'Ad i: affirmative, quin tamen 
inde reprehendendi censeantur, qui 
opiniones ab aliis probatis auctoribus 
traditas sequuntur. Ad 2: negative, 
habitd ratione mentis S. Sedis circa 
approbationem scriptorum servorum 
Dei ad effectum canonisationis.*' 
Gregory XVI confirmed this decision 
and in the Bull of canonization 
(1839) declared: "Eiusdem iSancti 
Alphonsi] opera inoffenso prorsus 
pede percurri a Udelibus posse,** 
Pius IX declared, March 23, 1871: 
**[S. Alphonsus] inter complexas 
theologorum sive laxiores sive rigidi- 
ores sententias tutam stravit viam, 
per quam Christi fidelium animarum 
moderatores inoffenso pede incedere 
possent.** All these approbations 
and declarations mean nothing more 
than that the writings of St. Al- 
phonsus contain nothing contrary to 
the teaching of the Church. 



bases his opinion. To proceed by mere appeal to authority 
is contrary to the principles of Scholasticism, of which 
the Angelic Doctor was the leading exponent." As far as 
possible, reason should endeavor to demonstrate the truths 
proposed by faith. The maxim, Tides quaent tntellec- 
L' must never be set aside in favor of authority, because 
even the highest authority is, after all, but human. To 
adopt an opinion for no other reason than that it was held 
by St. Thomas, would be foreign to the spirit of Scholastic 
theology " " St. Thomas, as Lacordaire has rightly said, 
is a light to guide, not a rod to check.- Where the 
Church has issued no positive decision and Revelation 
offers no definite guidance, we must follow the light ot 
reason and the advice of competent experts. When the 
theologians agree, it would be rash to reject their opin- 
ion."'' If a considerable number of reputable authors 
defend a proposition, it is at least permissible to follow 
their teaching."" 

REAMNGS.-M. Cronin. The Science of Ethics. Vol. I Dublin 
igo9, pp. 14 sq.-Aug. Lehmkuhl. S.J.. in the Catholic Encyclo- 
pedia Vol. XIV, pp. 602 sq.-H. Gerigk, Die wissenschafthche 
Moral und ihre Lehrweise, Breslau 1910.— M. Cano, Loci Theolo- 
gici. Salamanca I563.-Ad. Tanquerey, S.S.. Synopsis Theologtae 
Moralis, Vol. I. 2nd ed., pp. 5 sqq. 

22 For St. Thomas' own statement 
see Turner, History of Philosophy, 

p. 354. ^ , 

23 Innsbruck Zeitschrift fur kath. 

Theologie, 1898, p. S30. 

24 "S. Thomas est un phare, mais 
ni doit pas Itre une borne." 

25 Cfr. Melchior Cano, Loci Theo- 

logici, 1. VII, c. 4- 

28 Cfr. the Zeitschrift fiir kath. 

Theologie, 1884, p. 788. 


'^f"•~|^^y—^r^^'^ TTf 





The attainment of man's last end may be con- 
ceived as depending upon knowledge of the truth, 
observance of the law, or the mystic union of the 
soul with Christ/ Accordingly we distinguish 
three methods of studying and teaching Moral 
Theology. These methods are based on the 
three principal stages that mark the way to 
Christian perfection and are known as the Scho- 
lastic or speculative, the practical or casuistic, and 
the ascetic method. 

I. The Scholastic or Speculative Meth- 
od. — The Scholastic or speculative method derives 
its data from positive theology, that is to say, it 
examines the teaching of Scripture and Tradition 
and expounds the moral principles derived from 
that teaching in the light of reason, tracing their 
intrinsic relations, demonstrating their correct- 
ness, and developing their logical implications. 

This method may, therefore, be described as a 
deduction of the principles of right living from the 
truths of speculative theology. Hence its other 

1 John XVII, 3; Matth. XIX, 17; John VI, 55-58 


name, speculative. The principal purpose of the 
speculative or Scholastic method is to set forth 
the eternal ideas of right and wrong as they exist 
in the divine intellect, the ethical faculties of man, 
and divine Revelation. The claims of this 
method need not be proved ; they are justified by 
the very nature of the subject with which Moral 

Theology deals. 

2. The Practical or Casuistic Method. 
—This method may be defined as technical in- 
struction in the application of the general princi- 
ples of morality to special conditions and events, 
real or imaginary ; or, in other words, as the ana- 
lytic solution of so-called cases of conscience (ca- 
sus conscientiae ) . Thus defined, casuistry ( the- 
ologia casuistica) is a legitimate, nay an indis- 
pensable instrument for testing the morality of 
human acts. By applying the principles of right 
conduct to the actual and possible occurrences of 
everyday life, the casuist decides practical prob- 
lems arising in the cure of souls and determines 
what is right and what is wrong, what is licit 
and what is forbidden, what is venially and what 
mortally sinful in each individual case. Em- 
ployed prudently, i. e., with due regard for the 
principles of morality, the casuistic method is un- 
doubtedly useful. However, it embraces only a 
narrow sector of life, and appraises human con- 
duct mainly from the external, juridical, and 





legal point of view, and hence easily leads either 
to excessive rigorism or undue laxity .^ 

In another and a higher sense casuistry is more than 
a mere method employed in Moral Theology; it is a 
science which digests the positive moral teachings em- 
bodied in the laws and official decisions of the Church 
and deduces from them the true spirit of ecclesiastical 
legislation and definite principles for the guidance of 

3. The Ascetic Method.— This method 
shows how the means of grace should be em- 
ployed so as to enable man to attain perfection. 

There are three ways of attaining perfection : 
the purgative, the illuminative, and the unitive. 

Setting out on the first (via purgativa), the 
soul is cleansed from sin and concupiscence by 
prayer, penitence, and mortification. 

Proceeding on the second {via illuminativa) , 
the soul is divinely enlightened and endowed with 
supernatural prerogatives, such as intuition, vi- 
sion, etc. 

Finally, at the end of the third way (via tini' 
tiva), the soul is united with God, its sovereign 

Mysticism, which in its practical manifesta- 
tions is sometimes, though less appropriately, 

2Cfr. F. Walter, Theorie und 
Praxis, pp. 15 sqq.; Jos. Rickaby, 
SJ., Political and Moral Essays, 
London 1902, pp. 197 sqq.; T. Bros- 

nahan, S.J., in the Cath. Encyclo- 
pedia, Vol. Ill, pp. 415 sqq.; W. 
Humphrey, S.J., Conscience qnc^ 
Law, London 1896. 

called ascetism, may consequently be defined 
as the science of Christian virtue, particularly 
ideal virtue, i. e. the hidden life of the soul with 
Christ in God.^ It forms the climax and crown 
of Moral Theology. 

However, mystic theology does not comprise 
the Church's entire teaching with regard to the 
virtues of the Christian life. It merely deals with 
these virtues in their highest aspects. Wrongly 
conceived. Mysticism leads to the adoption of 
false ideals. 

The Church has prescribed none of the three 
methods enumerated above for the study or teach- 
ing of Moral Theology.^ As each method covers 
but a portion of the vast field traversed by this 
science, all three should be employed together. 
We find them so employed in the writings of St. 
Bernard, St. Thomas, St. Bonaventure, and other 
great masters. 

Readings. — J. Hogan, Clerical Studies, Boston 1898, pp. 209 
sqq., 222 sqq. — ^J. Mausbach, Die kath. Moral, ihre Methoden, 
Grundsdtse und Aufgaben, 2nd ed., Cologne 1902.— Idem, Catholic 
Moral Teaching and its Antagonists, New York 1914, pp. 57 sqq. 

3 Col. ni, 3; Gal. II, 20; VI, 14; 

Eph. Ill, 17 sqq.— Cfr. F. X. Mutz, 
Christliche Aszetik, Paderborn 1907. 
191 o; Th. Zahn, Einfuhrung in die 
christliche Mystik, ibid,, 1908; G. M. 
Sauvage, in the Cath, Encyclopedia, 
Vol. X, pp. 663 sqq.; A. Poulain, 
SJ., The Graces of Interior Prayer 
(tr. uy L. Y. Smith), London 191 1. 

4 Pius VI in his Constitution 

"Auctorem fidei" (Aug. 28, 1794) 
and Pius IX, in the thirteenth prop- 
osition of the Syllabus, merely de- 
fend Scholasticism against the unjust 
accusations of its enemies; they do 
not prescribe the casuistic method 
for Moral Theology. The same is 
true of the letter addressed by Pius 
IX to the Munich Scientific Con- 
gress, Dec. 21, 1863. 



—A. Sweens, Theologia Moralis Fundamentalis, 2nd ed., Haaren 
1910, pp. 7 sq.— A. Meyenberg, Die kath. Moral, 2nd ed., pp. 34 
sqq.— Hettinger-Stepka, Timothy, pp. 390 sqq.— M. Grabmann, Die 
Geschichte der scholastischen Methode, Vol. I, Freiburg 1909, pp. 
36 sqq., 55 sqq.— Jos. Rickaby, S.J., Political and Moral Essays, 
London 1902, pp. 197 sqq.— Aug. Lehmkuhl, S.J., in the Catholic 
Encyclopedia, Vol. XIV, pp. 607 sqq.— Th. Bouquillon, Theologia 
Moralis Fundamentalis, 3rd ed., Bruges 1903.— A. Krawutzky, 
Einleitung in das Studium der kath. Moraltheologie, 2nd ed., 
Breslau 1898. 




Catholic Moral Theology has a very extensive 
literature. In this compendium we can do little 
more than give a list of the principal authors and 
their more important works. We shall supple- 
ment this enumeration with sufficient data to make 
it serve as an historical outline of the development 
of our science. 

The history of Moral, like that of Dogmatic 
Theology, and Church History in general, may 
suitably be divided into three periods: (i) the 
Patristic, (2) the Medieval or Scholastic, and (3) 
the Modern Period. 




I. Those who occupied themselves publicly 
with the moral teaching of Christianity in the 
first three centuries did so for a practical rather 
than a scientific purpose; they wrote to instruct 
the faithful in the principles of right living and 
to ward off pagan or heretical attacks. 

a) The so-called Apostolic Fathers ^ expound 
the moral teaching of the Church on the basis 
of Sacred Scripture and Tradition. They spe- 
cially emphasize the three theological virtues )f 
faith, hope, and charity as the core and kernel of 
Christian morality. 

The Didache, or Teaching of the Twelve Apos- 
tles, has been called "the first handbook of Moral 
Theology.*' It gives a synopsis of Christian eth- 
ics under the figure of two ways, the way of life 
and the way of death.* 

1 Cfr. F. X. Funk, Patres Apo- 
stolid. Vol. I, 2nd cd., Tubingen 
1901. — A cheap edition of the writ- 
ings of these Fathers, with a fairly 
reliable English translation, is now 
available in the Loeb Classical Li* 
brarx (Kirsopp Lake, The Apostolic 

Fathers, 2 vols., London 1912 and 

2 AtSax^ TtSiv 8^€Ka diroarSXiav, 
Ch. I-VI.— On the Didache and its 
teaching see Bardenhewer-Shahan, 
Patrology, Freiburg and St. Louis 
1908, pp. 19 sqq.; J. Tixeront, His- 




The same simile, in a slightly altered form, oc- 
curs in the Epistle ascribed to St. Barnabas.^ 

St. Clement of Rome, who, according to St. 
Irenaeus, was the third successor of St. Peter, in- 
structs the Corinthians in their duties, warns them 
against harboring envy and jealousy, recommends 
the practice of humility and obedience, and points 
to certain types and examples of these virtues 
contained in the Old Testament.* 

St. Ignatius of Antioch, of whose letters St. 
Polycarp says that they "contain faith, patience, 
and all the edification which pertains to our 
Lord," *^ calls faith and charity "the beginning 
and the end of life," ^ and describes the mutual 
relationship of these two virtues as follows: 
"The beginning is faith, the end is love; and 
when the two are joined together in unity, it is 
God, and all other noble things follow after 

them." ' 

St, Polycarp as a rule confines himself to gen- 
eral admonitions ; but now and then he exhorts his 

tory of Dogmas, Vol. I, St. Louis 
1910, pp. 135 sqq.— A synopsis of the 
Didachi is given by Slater in his 
Short History of Moral Theology, 
pp. 9 sqq. 

8 Ep. Barn., c. XVIII-XXL— For 
a brief account of this letter and its 
contents see Bardenhewer-Shahan, 
Patrology, pp. 22 sqq.; Tixeront, 
Hist, of Dogmas, Vol. I, pp. i39 sqq. 

4 1 Ep. ad Cor., c. 1-36. — Cfr. 
Bardenhewer-Shahan, Patrology, pp. 
25 sqq.; Tixeront, Hist, of Dogmas, 

Vol. I, pp. 107 sqq.; J- Gregg, The 
Epistle of St. Clement, London 1899. 
s Polycarp, Ad Phil., XIII, 2. 

7 Ad Ephes., XIV, i: dpx^ f^^P 
vlffTis* riKos 5k dydinj' to, de dvo 
iv ivSrriTi yevofieva 0c6s iffrivt rit 
9k &\\a irdvTa eli KoKoKdyaeiaP 
dKSXovBd iffTip.— On St. Ignatius' 
teaching see E.^ Bruston, Ignace 
d*Antioche, ses Epitres, sa Vie, sa 
Thiologie, Paris 1897. 

■ -II. ■"!■> ■ I ^?».- 
; >H.ijn||I^JUI I- ( iJltfJ V- 





disciples to obey "the presbyters and deacons" and 
emphasizes the three theological virtues together 
with love of one's neighbors.® 

The twelve commandments (mandata) incul- 
cated by the Shepherd of Hernias are a kind of 
compendium of Catholic moral teaching.® 

The Letter to Diognetus describes the exem- 
plary life led by the Christians of the third or 
fourth century.^** 

b) The Apologists of the second and third 
centuries," without shutting their eyes to the 
commendable features of pagan civilization, con- 
trast the pious life led by Christian believers with 
the depravity of the pagan masses, and extol the 
former for their unworldliness, their chastity 
and benevolence, their charity and heroism, which 
frequently culminated in martyrdom. 

Though the early Christians constantly kept in 
view the essentials of morality, and recognized 
prayer and penance as the principal means of 
sanctification, their views and customs undeniably 
betray a certain rigorism. Thus they condemned 
play-acting and other diversions which are in 
themselves harmless/^ 

6 Ad Phil., ni, 2-3.— Cfr. Tix- 
eront, History of Dogmas, Vol. I, pp. 
132 sqq. 

9 Cfr. Bardenhewer-Shahan, Pa- 
trology, pp. 38 sq.; Tixcront, op. cit., 
I, III sqq. 

10 Ep. ad Diogn., c. V-VII.—On 
the authorship of this disputed letter 

see Bardenhewer-Shahan, Patrology, 
pp. 68 sq. 

11 V, Bardenhewer-Shahan, Pa- 
trology, pp. 44 sqq. 

12 Cfr. K. J. Hefele, Beitr'dge zur 
Kirchengeschichte, Vol. I, Tubingen 
1864, pp. 16 sqq.; A. Bigelmair, Die 
Beteiligung der ersten Christen am 

The development of Moral Theology was 
strongly advanced by Clement of Alexandria, 
whose trilogy {Protrepticus, Paedagogus, Stro- 
mat a) is a graduated or progressive introduction 
to Christianity. The Protrepticus (Exhortation 
to the Heathen) opens with an eloquent invitation 
to listen to ''the new song of the Logos going 
forth from Sion." The Paedagogus is a guide 
to Christian life for the use of converts. The 
Stromata (Miscellanies; strictly. Tapestries, a 
collection of materials for the instruction and 
training of theologians) presents a scientific ac- 
count of "the true philosophy," i. e., the Christian 
religion. Another ethical treatise by the same 
learned author, Tt? 6 awfo/Acvo? ttXovo-ios^ is more com- 
monly known by its Latin title, ''Quis Dives 

Salveturr '^ 

Origen made valuable contributions to Moral 
Theology in his treatise on Prayer and the Ex- 
hortation to Martyrdom.^^ 

dffentlichen Leben, Munich 1902, pp. 
172 sqq. 

13 Cfr. Bardenhewer-Shahan, Pa- 
trology, p. 129; Slater, A Short His- 
tory of Moral Theology, pp. 11 sqq. 
— Clement's trilogy is reproduced in 
Migne, P. G., VIII and IX. Vol. 
VIII contains the Paedagogus and 
the first four Stromata; Vol. IX, the 
other works. — On his life and teach- 
ing see O. Stahlin, Clemens Alexan- 
drinus, 3 vols., Leipsic 1905-09; F. 
J. Winter, Die Ethik des Klemens 
von Alexandrien, Leipsic 1882; E. 
de Faye, Clement d'Alexandrie, 
Paris 1898; W. Capitaine, Die 

Moral des Klemens von Alexandrien, 
Paderborn 1903; F. X. Funk, 
"Klemens von Alexandrien Uber 
Familie und Eigentum/' in Kir- 
chengeschichtliche Abhandlungen und 
Untersuchungen, Vol. II, Paderborn 
1899, pp. 45 sqq.; W. Wagner, Der 
Christ und die Welt nach Klemens 
von Alexandrien, Gottingen 1903; J» 
Kaye, Some Account of the Writ- 
ings and Opinions of Clement of 
Alexandria, 2nd ed., London 1890; 
K. Ernesti, Die Ethik des T. Flavius 
Klemens von Alexandrien, Pader- 
born 1900. 

14 Migne, P. G„ XI, 416-56^ 






TertulHan ^^ and St. Cyprian are the leading 
representatives of what may be called the practi- 
cal school of early Christian moralists. The or- 
thodox writings of the former contain many pro- 
found reflections on ethical topics.^® Tertullian 
was the first writer who expressly taught that the 
will of God is the sovereign principle of moral- 
ity. ^^ St. Cyprian has left us a number of excel- 
lent moral treatises distinguished by genuine 

2. In the fourth century the Fathers of both 

564-637. — Cfr. W. Capitaine, De 
Origenis Ethica, Munster 1898; C. 
Klein, Die Freiheitslehre des Ori- 
genes t Strassburg 1894. 

16 Tertullian's ethical writings are 
reprinted in Migne, P. L., I and II, 
in Gersdorf's Bibliotheca Pair. Ec- 
cles. Lat., ed. E. F. Leopold, Leip* 
•ic 1839, Vols. IV-VII, and in the 
Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum 
Latinorum, Vienna 1890-96, XX, 1 
and 3. — On this writer's teaching see 
G. Ludwig, Tertullians Ethik, Leip- 
sic 1885; W. Vollert, Tertullians dog- 
matische und ethische Grundan- 
schauung, Giitersloh 1903; J. Tur- 
mel, Jertullien, 2nd ed., Paris 1905, 
pp. 146 sqq.; Adhemar d'Ales, La 
Theologie de Tertullien, Paris 1905, 
pp. 262 sqq.; F. Nielsen, Tertullians 
Ethik, Schonberg 1879; J. Tixeront, 
History of Dogmas, Vol. I, pp. 304 

18 De Poenitentia, De Oratione, 
De Patientia, Ad Martyres, De Ido- 
lolatria, De Spectaculis, Ad Uxorem, 
— On the character of these treatises 
and the various editions of them see 
Bardenhewer-Shahan, Patrology, pp. 
186 sq. 

17 De Poenit., 4: "Nos vero pro 

nostrxs angustiis unum inculcamus, 
bonum atque optimum esse, quod 
Deus praecipit. Audaciam existimo, 
de bono divini praecepti disputare. 
Neque enim quia bonum est, idcirco 
auscultare debemus, sed quia Deus 
praecipit. Ad exhibitionem obsequii 
prior est maiestas divinae potestatis, 
prior est auctoritas imperantis quam 
utilitas servientis.'* (Ed. Leopold, 
11. 52). 

18 These treatises may be found in 
Migne, P. L., IV (cfr. II and V) ; a 
critical edition by G. Hartel in the 
Corpus Script. Eccles. Lat., Ill, 1-3. 
Vienna 1868- 1 871. —St Cyprian's 
principal moral treatises are: De 
Catholicae Ecclesiae Unitate, De Lap- 
sis, De Dominica Oratione, De Bono 
Patientiae, De Opere et Eleemosy- 
nis, De Habitu Virginum, De Mor- 
talitate. — Cfr. Bardenhewer-Shahan, 
Patrology, pp. 192 sqq. — On the 
ethical teaching of Lactantius 
(Migne, P. L., VI- VII; Corpus 
Script. Eccl. Lat., Vols. XIX and 
XXVII, ed. S. Brandt and G. Laub- 
mann, Vienna 1890-1897) see M. E. 
Heinig, Die Ethik des Lactantius, 
Grimma 1887. 

the East and the West labored hard to stem the 
tide of corruption that threatened to invade the 
Church. It was in the course of this period that 
St. Ambrose and St. Augustine laid the foun- 
dations of Moral Theology as a science. St. 
Augustine in particular deserves a place of honor 
in the Patristic history of our discipline on ac- 
count of the masterful way in which he developed 
theological anthropology and expounded many 
ethical questions. 

St. Ambrose's principal moral treatise, entitled De 
Officiis Ministrorum, is modelled on Cicero's De OfUciis 
and may be described as a manual of instruction com- 
posed for the author's spiritual children, the ecclesiastics 
or ministers (ministri) of the Church. His chief motive 
seems to have been to demonstrate the superiority of 
Christian over pagan ethics. He also wrote several 
works in praise of virginity and the religious state. It 
has been justly observed that the ethical element pre- 
dominates in all his writings.^* 

St. Augustine systematically expounded both the dog- 
matic and the moral teaching of the Church in his Enchiri- 
dion ad Laurentium, sive de Fide, Spe et Caritate. His 
treatise De Moribus Ecclesiae et de Moribus Maniduz- 
orum is devoted entirely to a defense of the moral teaching 

10 Cfr. Tixeront, History of Dog- 
mas, Vol. II, pp. 251 sq.— Slater, A 
Short History of Moral Theology, 
pp. 14 sq. — St. Ambrose's moral writ- 
ings in Migne, P. L., XIV-XVII — 
On the relation of his De OMciis 
Ministrorum to Cicero's De OMciis 
tee F. Bittner, Commentatio de 
Ciceronianis et Ambrosianis OMci- 

orum Libris, Braunsberg 1849; J. E. 
Pruner, Die Theologie des hi. Am- 
brosius, Eichstatt 1862.— R. Thamin 
(5". Ambroise et la Morale Chri- 
tienne au IV e Siicle, Paris 1895, ch. 
5-8) underrates the influence of 
Sacred Scripture on the ethical 
teaching of St. Ambrose. 






of the Church against the Manichaeans. He wrote sepa- 
rate monographs on lying, marriage, monasticism, conti- 
nence, patience, virginity, and widowhood.^*^ Besides, not 
a few of his letters deal with ethical topics." The funda- 
mental principle of Christian morality, according to Au- 
gustine, is charity, from which all other virtues emanate, 
and with which they are substantially identical." 

St. Augustine also laid the foundation of practical 
Mysticism. Speculatively, this science was profoundly in- 
fluenced by the writings attributed (wrongly, as we now 
know) to Dionysius the Areopagite.^^ 

Other distinguished moralists of the Patristic age were 
St. Basil the Great,-* St. Gregory of Nyssa, in whose 
writings the viewpoint of practical morality often asserts 
itself,25 St. Gregory of Nazianzus,^® and St. John Chrys- 

20 De Mendacio, Contra Menda- 
cium, De Bono Coniugali, De Opere 
Monachorum, De Continentia, De 
Patientia, De Sancta Virginitate, De 
Bono Viduitatis. — Bardenhewer-Sha- 
han, Patrology, p. 492. 

21 Reprinted from the Benedictine 
edition in Migne, P. L., XXXII- 
XLVII.— On the ethical teaching of 
St. Augustine see H. Renter, Augu- 
stinische Studien, Gotha 1887, pp. 
359 sqq. ; C. Wolfsgruber, Augusti- 
nus, Paderborn 1898, pp. 860 sqq.; 
A. M. Tonna-Barthet, 5". August ini 
Doctrina Ascetica, Einsiedeln 1906; 
J. Mausbach, Die Ethik des hi. Augu- 
stinus, 2 vols., Freiburg 1909; Bar- 
denhewer-Shahan, Patrology, pp. 488 
sqq.; J. Tixeront, History of Dog- 
mas, Vol. II, pp. 367 sqq., 432 sqq., 
460 sqq. 

22 Cfr. De Moribus Ecclesiae, c. 
14, n. 24 (Migne, P. L., XXXII, 

23 Cfr. H. Koch, Pseudo-Dionysius 
Areopagita in seinen Beziehungen 
Mum Neuplatonismus und Mysterien- 

wesen, Mayence 1900; Bardenhewer* 
Shahan, Patrology, pp. 535 sqq.; Tix- 
eront, Hist, of Dogmas, Vol. Ill, pp. 

5 sqq. 

2^Ethica. Ep. Canonicae (Migne, 
P. C., XXIX-XXXII).— Cfr. A. 
Kranich, Die Aszetik in ihren dog- 
matischen Grundlagen bei Basilius 
dem Grossen, Paderborn 1896. — Bar- 
denhewer-Shahan, Patrology, p. 278. 

25 See his De Perfectione, and es- 
pecially De Virginitate (Migne, P. 
G., XLIV-XLVD.—Cfr. Barden- 
hewer-Shahan, Patrology, p. 299. — 
On the ethical teaching of St. Greg- 
ory of Nyssa see F. Hilt, Des hi. 
Gregorius von Nyssa Lehre vom 
Menschen, Cologne 1890, pp. 103 
»qq-» ^7S SQQ-; W. Vollert, Die Lehre 
Gregors von Nyssa vom Guten und 
Bosen, Leipsic 1897; J. B. Auf- 
hauser, Die Heilslehre des hi. Gre- 
gor von Nyssa, Munich 19 10. 

26 Carmina, Orationes (Migne, P. 
G., XXXV-XXXVIII).— On Nazi- 
anzen's teaching see Fr. K. Hummer, 
Dts hi. Gregor von Nazvanz, des Tht- 

ostom. These writers treated ethical subjects mostly 
from the standpoint of the ascetic." 

St Ephraem Syrus in his orations and hymns is both 
scholastic and practical. Moralizing discourses, monitory 
or penitential, make up the greater part of his works. 

St. Cyril of Jerusalem deals with sin, penance, and other 
moral topics in his famous Catecheses MystagogicaeP 

St. Macarius the Egyptian is regarded as the founder of 
ecclesiastical Mysticism.^^ 

St Methodius, Bishop of Olympus in Lycia, m his 
famous Symposion, enthusiastically chants the praises of 

virginity.^^ ^ . . . 

The moral teaching of St. Gregory the Great is minute 
and practical. His Expositio in Librum lob, more gen- 
erally known as Moralium Libri XXXV, has justly been 
termed '' a thesaurus of Moral Theology." «^ His famous 
Liber Regulae Pastoralis, written about 591 and dedicated 
to Archbishop John of Ravenna, is regarded as the first 
treatise on casuistry .«* 

ologen. Lehre von der Gnade, Kemp- 
ten 1890; Th. Sommcrlad, Das Wirt- 
schaftsprogramm der Kirche im Mit- 
ielalter, Leipsic 1903. PP» ^3^ sqq. 

27 Chrysostom's ascetical and 
moral writings in Migne, P. G., 
XLVII-LXIV.— On his moral teach- 
ing see Somerlad, op. cit,, pp. 142 
sqq.; Bardenhewer-Shahan, Patrol- 
ogy, pp. 344 sq- o^ 1- D 

28 Cfr. Bardenhewer-Shahan, ra- 

trology, pp. 390 sq. 

29 Migne. P. G., XXXIII.-On 
the moral doctrine of St. Cyril see 
A. Knappitsch. S. Cyrilli Catechesi- 
bus quae Principia et Praecepta 
Moralia Contineantur, Graz 1899. 

SO Bardenhewer-Shahan. Patrology, 
pp. 226 sq.— The 'O/tiX/ai irvevfia- 
TiKal are reprinted in Migne, P. G., 
XXXIV, A49-823.— On the theologi- 

cal opinions of Macarius cfr. J. Stof» 
fels, Die mystische Theologie Maka- 
rius des Aegypters und die altesten 
Ansatze christlicher Mystik, Bonn 

31 Migne, P. G., XVIII, 9-408.— 
Cfr. N. Bonwetsch, Die Theologie 
des Methodius von Olympus, Berlin 

1903, pp. 1^5 sqq. 

32 Bardenhewer-Shahan, Patrology, 

p. 653. 

33 Op. cit., pp. 652 sq.— Gregory s 

writings will be found in Migne, P. 
L„ LXXV-LXXIX.— On his life and 
teaching cfr. C. Wolfsgruber, Gregor 
der Grosse, Saulgau 1890.— On the 
teaching of St. Jerome and Theo- 
doret of Cyrus see Th. Sommerlad, 
Das Wirtschaftsprogramm der Kirche 
im Mittelalter, Leipsic 1903. PP- 165 
sqq., 173 SQ^' 




Readings.— R. Ceillier, Apologie d0 la Morale des Peres de 
VBglise, Paris 171a— J. P. Charpentier, Etudes sur les Peres de 
I'^glise, Paris 1853.— A. Rietter, Sittenlehre der kirchlichen 
Schriftsteller der ersten swei Jahrhunderte, Ratisbon 1845.— E. 
von Dobschiitz, Die urchristlichen Gemeinden, Leipsic 1902.— A. 
Harnack, Die Mission und Ausbreitung des Chrisientums, Vol. I, 
2nd ed., Leipsic 1906, pp. 172 sqq.— Bardenhewer-Shahan, Pa- 
trology, pp. 15 sqq.— J. Schwane, Dogmengeschichte, Vol. I, 2nd 
ed., Freiburg 1892, pp. 289 sqq., 466 sqq.; Vol. II, 2nd ed., 
Freiburg 1895, PP. 418 sqq., 439 sqq., 725 sqq.— Thos. Slater, S.J., 
A Short History of Moral Theology, New York 1909, pp. 8-35.— 
Aug. Lehmkuhl, S.J., in the Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. XIV, pp. 
604 sq. 




1. The ecclesiastical writers of the early Mid- 
dle Ages contented themselves with gathering up 
the moral teachings of the Fathers, expound- 
ing and adapting them to practical use by 
means of encyclopedic collections known as Libri 
Sententiarum, Scintillae Patrum, or Sacra Paral- 
lela. It is sufficient to mention St. Isidore of 
Seville, St. John of Damascus, St. Bede, St. Peter 
Damian, and Alcuin.^ 

About the same time the ancient penitential 
canons together with the existing ordinances re- 
garding the administration of penance were 
gathered into so-called Penitential Books {Lihri 
Poenitentiales), which, by noting the penances 
to be imposed in the confessional, helped to pre- 
pare the way for the casuistic method.^ 

2. Beginning with the eleventh century the 
moral teaching of the ,Church was systematically 

iCfr. Kihn, Enzyklop'ddie und 
Methodologie der Theologie, Frei- 
burg 1892, p. 441. — On SS. Isidore 
and John Damascene see Barden- 
hewer-Shahan, Patrology, pp. 660 
sqq., 582 sqq. On St. Bede, St. 
Peter Damian, and Alcuin, the Cath. 

Encyclopedia. II, 384 sqq., XI, 764 
sq., I, 276 sqq. 

2 Pohle-Preuss, The Sacraments, 
Vol. Ill, pp. 199 sq.; H. J. SchmiU, 
Die Buwbajfc^r,; a ''^iak.',, M^yen/:e 
1883 and I J89^ ; » Leh'mkuhl - ip « the 
Cath. Encyciopedial k'lV, 605. 


* « * } 

• • i * ) 

• • i t ^ 

t • k . 

• • « 







expounded according to the speculative, the casu- 
istic, and the mystical method. However, Moral 
Theology was not yet an independent science, 
but formed a part of the Scholastic Summae, and 
was dealt with either in philosophy or dogmatic 

The first writer who treated Moral Theology as 
a separate science probably was William Perault, 
O. P. (+ before 1270).^ He was followed by St! 
Antoninus of Florence, also a Dominican (+ 
1459).' Both Perault and St. Antoninus com- 
bined the systematic with the casuistic method. 

a) The real founder of Moral Theology as a 
science, however, is St. Thomas Aquinas 
(+ 1274).^ Utilizing the work of Peter Lom- 

» Perault (Pcrauld, Peraldus, 
Pcraltus) is believed by some to 
have been archbishop of Lyons. His 
Summa de Vitiis et Virtutibus was 
first published at Cologne, 1497. 
(Cfr. Chs. J. Callan, O.P., in the 
Cath. Encyclopedia, Vol. XV, p. 

^ Summa Theologica, best edition 
by Peter Ballerini, Verona 1740, 4 
vols, folio.— Cfr. K. Ilgner. Die 
volkswirischafthchen Anschauungen 
Anionins von Florenz, Paderborn 
1904. — Protestant ethics was raised 
to the rank of an independent sci- 
ence by George Calixtus ( -f- 1656), 
(Cfr. G. Honicke. Studten zur alt- 
protestantischeh Ethik, Berlin 1902, 
p. 128). Th. Venatorius, a Protes- 
tant minister in Niirnberg, had pub- 
lished a treati-^e De Virtute Chri- 
stiana in t^iree books as early as 
riSa^.' (Crr ih^M^ Schaff-Herxog 

Encyclopedia of Religious Knowl- 
edge, Vol. IV, pp. 188 sqq.) 

5 Cfr. K. Werner, Der hi. Thomas 
von Aquin, Vol. I, Ratisbon 1858, 
p. 81s; A. Stockl, Geschichie der 
Philosophie des Mtttelalters, Vol. II, 
Mayence 1865, PP. 655-7-?!; H. E. 
Plassmann, Dte Moral gemdss der 
Schule des hi. Thomas, Soest 1861; 
A. Rietter, Moral des hi, Thomas 
von Aquxn, Munich 1858; A. Port- 
mann. System der theologischen 
Summe, 2nd ed.. Lucerne 1903, pp. 
105 sqq.; P. Berthier, L'Etude de 
la Somme Theologique de S. Thomas 
d'Aquin, 2nd ed., Paris 1905; M. 
Maurenbrecher, Thomas von Aquins 
Stellung sum Wirischaftslehen seiner 
Zeit, Leipsic 1898; F. Walter, Das 
Eigentum nach der Lehre des hi, 
Thomas und der Sosialismus, Frei- 
burg 1895; F. Schaub, Eigentums- 
lehre nach Thomas von Aquin, Frei- 

bard (+ 1164), called ''Master of the Sen- 
tences," whose Libri Sententiarum for several 
centuries served as a standard text-book in the 
theological schools, and following Alexander of 
Hales (+1245) and Blessed Albert the Great 
( + 1280),^ the Angelic Doctor in the second part 
of his classic Summa Theologica developed Cath- 
olic moral teaching into a magnificent system 
based upon the philosophy of Aristotle and the 
dogmatic anthropology of St. Augustine. 

The Thomistic system was attacked by Duns 
Scotus (+ 1308),^ who asserted that "good is 
good because God wills it so, and to say that God 
wills the good for the reason that it is good would 
be false."' 

burg 1898; J. Mausbach, Ausge- 
wdhlte Texte zur allgemeinen Moral 
aus den Werken des hi. Thomas von 
Aquin, Miinster 1905; Jos. Rickaby, 
S.J., Aquinas Ethicus: or. The 
Moral Teaching of St. Thomas. A 
Translation of the Principal Portions 
of the Second Part of the "Summa 
Theologica," with Notes, 2 vols., 
London 1896; M. De Wulf, History 
of Medieval Philosophy (tr. by P. 
Coffey), London 1909. PP« 34i sqq.; 
Hettinger-Stepka, Timothy, or Let- 
ters to a Young Theologian, pp. 
388 sqq., St. Louis 1902. 

6 Cfr. W. Feiler, Die Moral des 
Albertus Magnus, Leipsic 1891; E. 
Michael, S.J., Geschichte des deut- 
schen Volkes, Vol. Ill, pp. 245 sqq.; 
M. De Wulf, History of Medieval 
Philosophy, pp. 298 sqq. 

7 Cfr. M. De Wulf, op. cit., pp. 
367 sqq.; A. Stockl, Geschichte der 
Philosophie des Mittelalters, Vol. II, 

pp. 851 sqq.; A. Bertoni, Jean Duns 
Scot, sa J'ic, sa Doctrine, ses Dis- 
ciples, Lcvanto 19 17, pp. 402 sqq. 

8 Scotus, Comment, in Sent., Ill, 
dist. 19, qu. unica, § 7. — Cfr. Par- 
thenius Minges, O.F.M., 1st Duns 
Scotus Indeterministf Miinster 
1905; Idem, Die Gnadenlehre des 
Duns Scotus, ibid., 1906; Idem, 
Der Gottesbegriff des Duns Scotus, 
Vienna 1907. — Fr. Minges says in 
his article on Scotus in the Cath. 
Encyclopedia (Vol. V, pp. 197 sq.) : 
"Scotus declares emphatically that 
the morality of an act requires an 
object which is good in its nature, 
its end, and its circumstances, and 
according to the dictate of right rea- 
son. It is not true that he makes 
God's free will decide arbitrarily 
what is good and what is bad; he 
only asserts that the Commandments 
of the second table of the Decalogue 
are not in such strict sense laws of 


* :)i 




b) Casuistry does not owe its existence, as has 
been supposed, to St. Raymond of Pennafort 
(+ 1275). Robert of Flamesbury, towards the 
end of the twelfth century, or at the beginning of 
the thirteenth, in a treatise called Poenitentiale 
employed the casuistic method with much skill. 
St. Raymond himself, in composing his Summa, 
utilized an earlier treatise by an unknown author, 
which was probably written between 1217 and 
1226 and exhibits the casuistic method fully de- 
veloped. This anonymous treatise constitutes the 
first known application of the casuistic method 
to Moral Theology.* However, among the nu- 
merous works known as Summae Confessorum, 
or Summae Casuum C onscientiae , which served 
the clergy of the Middle Ages in the administra- 
tion of Penance, St. Raymond's Summa de Cast- 
bus Poenitentiae, or, as it is more often called, 
Summa Raimimdiana, was by far the most fa- 

Other widely quoted works of the same kind 
were: the Summa Astesana (or Astensis) de Ca- 
sibus C onscientiae , composed about 13 17 by a 
Franciscan friar of Asti in Piedmont ; the Summa 

nature as are those of the first ta- 
ble; because God cannot grant a dis- 
pensation from the laws of the first, 
whereas he can dispense from those 
of the second, as in fact He did when 
He commanded Abraham to sacrifice 
his son. But the precepts of the sec- 
ond Ublc also are far more binding 

than the other positive laws of God," 

» Cfr. E. Michael, SJ.. Geschichte 
des deutschen Volkes, Vol. Ill, pp. 
237 sqq.— On Raymond of Penna- 
fort see M. M. O'Kane, O.P., in the 
Cath. Encyclopedia, Vol. XII, pp. 
671 sq. 



Pisana (or Pisanella) of Bartholomew of Pisa, 
O. P., written about 1338; the Summa PaciUca 
of Pacificus Novariensis (a resident of Ceredano 
near Novara), composed about 1470; the Summa 
Rosella or Baptistiniana, of J. B. Trovamala of 
Genoa, written about 1484; the Summa Angelica, 
of Blessed Angelus Carletus, a Franciscan, who 
is generally called Angelus de Clavasio from his 
birth-place Chiavasso (+ I495); and, last not 
least, the Summa Summarum quae Silvestrina 
dicitur, composed by Sylvester Prierias, O. P., at 
Strassburg, 15 18, which practically brings the age 
of the great "Summists" to a close.^* 

c) The chief representatives of the ascetic 
method" are St. Bernard of Clairvaux 
(+1153)," Hugh and Richard of St. Victor 
(-1- 1 141 and 1173)/^ and St. Bonaventure 
( -|- 1 274 ) ." Later writers worthy of mention in 
this field are: John Tauler (+ 1361)," Bl. 

10 Cfr. T. Brosnahan, S.J., art. 
"Casuistry" in the Cath. Encyclo- 
pedia, Vol. Ill, pp. 415 sqq-; 

Schmitz, Die Bussbiicher, V6l. II, 
pp. 792 sqq. 

11 Cfr. K. Werner, System der 
christlichen Ethik, Vol. I, pp. 58 sqq. 

i2Migne, P. L., CLXXXII- 
CLXXXV.— Cfr. A. Stockl, Ge- 
schichte der Philosophic des Mit- 
telalters, Vol. I, pp. 293 sqq-*» M. 
Gildas, O.C.R., in the Cath. Encyclo- 
pedia, Vol. II, p. 501. 

isMigne, P. L., CLXXV- 
CLXXVII; CXCVI. Cfr. Stockl, 
op. cit,, I, 304 sqq., 355 sqq. 

14 St. Bonaventure's Opera Omnia 
were re-edited by the Franciscan Fa- 
thers of Quaracchi, Italy, 1882 sqq.; 
Decern Opuscula ad Theologiam 
Mysticam Spectantia, ibid., 1896. — 
Cfr. De Wulf, History of Medieval 
Philosophy, pp. 282 sqq.; L. Lem- 
mens, O.F.M., Der hi. Bonaventura, 
Kempten 1909, PP- 30 sqq.; A. 
Stockl, Geschichte der Philosophie 
des Mxttelalters, Vol. II, pp. 880 
sqq.; P. Robinson, O.F.M., in the 
Cath. Encyclopedia, Vol. II, pp. 648 


15 Cfr. K. Loffler in the Cath. En- 
cyclopedia, Vol. XIV, pp. 465 sq. 



Henry Suso (+ 1365),'' Bl. John of Ruysbroeck 
(+ 1381), surnamed "the Admirable Doctor/' ^' 
Gerard Zerbolt of Ziitphen (+ 1398)/® John 
Gerson (+ 1429)/^ and Thomas a Kempis 
(+ 1471). author of the world-famous Imita- 

READiNGS.-Thos. Slater, SJ., A Short History of Moral 
Theology, New York 1909, pp. 35-44.-Aug. Lehmkuhl, S.J., in the 
Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. XIV, pp. 605 sqq. 

leCfr. A. L. McMahon, O.P., 
in the Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 
VII, pp. 238 sq. 

17 V. Scully, C.R.L., Life of Bl, 
John Ruysbroeck, London 1910. 
Ruysbrocck*s Adornment of the 
Spiritual Marriage, The Sparkling 
Stone, and The Book of Supreme 
Truth have recently been published 
in an English translation by C. A. 
Wynschenk Dom, edited by Evelyn 
Underbill, who contributes a valu- 
able introduction, containing, inter 
alia, a brief biographical sketch of 
"the greatest of the Flemish mys- 
tics." {John of Ruysbroeck, Lon- 
don X916). 

iSCfr. Scully in the Cath, Ency- 
clopedia, Vol. VI, pp. 471 sq. 

i»Cfr. L. Salembier, ibid., pp. 
530 sqq. 

20 Cfr. Stockl, op, cit, II, pp. 1095 
sqq.— A splendid critical edition of 
Thomas a Kempis' writings has lately 
been published by M. J. Pohl 
(Thomae Hemerken a Kempis Opera 
Omnia, Freiburg 1902 sqq.).— Cfr. 
Sir Francis R. Cruise, Thomas d 
Kempis, London 1887; Idem, Who 
fVas the Author of the " Imitation" f 
London 1898; V. Sully, Life of the 
Ven. Thomas d Kempis, London 
1901; Idem in the Cath. Encyclope- 
dia, Vol, XIV, pp. 661 sqq. 



I. The general development of the sacred 
sciences following upon the Council of Trent 
naturally included Moral Theology. 

a) For a while St. Thomas was generally fol- 
lowed, and the moralists continued to treat their 
problems in connection with Dogmatic Theology. 
Some of them, notably Gabriel Vasquez, S.J. 
(+ 1604),^ Francis Suarez, S.J. (+ 1617),^ and 
Dom. Banez, O.P. (+ 1604), composed commen- 
taries on the Summa. Others, e, g., Peter Soto 
(+ 1563), Adam Tanner (+ 1632), Martin Be- 
canus (+ 1624), Natalis Alexander (+ 1724), 
Charles Billuart (+ 1757), and Eusebius Amort 
(+ 1775), adopted a less formal treatment, which 
enabled them to combine a systematic exposition 
of Catholic teaching with its defense against the 

From the close of the sixteenth century Moral 
Theology began to be treated as a separate dis- 
cipline. The method commonly employed was 

1 See Goyena in the Catholic En- 354 sqq.; Vol. II, pp. 152 sqq.; 
cyclopedia, Vol. XV, p. 275. Goyena in the Cath. Encyclopedia, 

2 Cfr. K. Werner, Franz Suareg, Vol. XIV, pp. 319 sq.; Lehmkuhl, 
Vol. I, Ratisbon 1861, pp. 262 sqq., ibid.. Vol. XIV, p. 607. 



scholastic or casuistic. Most writers divided the 
subject into treatises and made many excursions 
mto the realm of canonical and civil law. 

The best-known moralists of this period are • 
the Jesuits Henry Henriquez ( + 1608), Gregory 
of Valentia (+ 1603) John Azor (+1603) Vin- 
cent Filliucci (+1622), F. de Castropalao 
(-r- 1033), Louis Torres (Turrianus, + 16^0 

fr' .^^{T"" ^ + ^^^5),' Antony Escobar 
(+ 1069), Herman Busembaum (-f- 1668)' 
Claude Lacroix (+ i7i4),« Paul Gabriel Antoine 
(+1743). John Reuter (+1762),' Nicholas 

8 Laymann was the ablest moralist 
among the German Jesuits. He 
taught Moral Theology in Munich 
from 1609-25. His Theologia Mo- 
ralis (6 vols., Munich 1625) went 
through numerous editions. 

* K. Weiss, P. Antonio de Escobar 
y Mendoza, Klagenfurt 1908; E. P. 
Graham in the Cath. Encyclopedia, 
Vol. V, p. 534. 

6 On Busembaum see T. B. Bar- 
rett, S.J., in the Cath. Encyclopedia, 
Vol. Ill, pp. 86 sq.— Busembaum'i 
Medulla Theologiae Moralis Facili ac 
Perspicua Methodo Resolvens Casus 
Conscientiae ex Variis Probatisque 
Auctortbus Concinnata was origin- 
ally published in one volume at 
Munster, 1650. Altogether there 
have been more than 200 editions of 
this work. The latest Ciuxta edi- 
Uonem ultimam S. Congr. de Prop. 
Fide") appeared at Tournay, 1876, 
m two volumes. This much misrep- 
resented treatise formed the basis 
for the moral theologies of Lacroix. 
Zaccaria, St. Alphonsus, Ballerini- 
Palmieri, and others.— Cfr. B. Duhr, 

S.J., Jesuitenfabeln, 4th ed., Frci. 
burg 1904. 

^fl Lacroix taught at Munster and 
Cologne. His Theologia Moralis (9 
vols., Cologne 1707-14) is based on 
Busembaum and was attacked in Ger- 
many, France, and Italy. J. A. 
Zaccaria, S.J., defended Lacroix's 
teaching in his Apologie de la ThSo. 
logie Morale, 1758. 

7 Cfr. G. F. Johnson in the Cath. 
Encyclopedia, Vol. I, p. sSa—An- 
toine was an opponent of Probabi- 
hsm. St. Alphonsus says of him: 
"Inter rigidos auctores non infimum 
tenet locum.'* In spite of its rigor- 
ism, however, Antoine's Theologia 
Moralis Universa ad Usum Parocho- 
rum et Confessariorum (Nancy 1726) 
went through nine editions during 
the author's life and ten after his 
death. The last of these, published 
in Rome, 1747, was prescribed by 
Benedict XIV as the official text- 
book of Moral Theology for the 
College of tht Propaganda. 

8 Reuter taught theology at Treves. 
His NeO'Confessarius (re-edited by 



Mazotta (+ 1737),^ Edmund Voit (+ 1780);'^, 
the Salmanticenses; ^^ the Franciscans Patrick 
Sporer (+ 1683)/^ Benjamin Elbel (+ 1756)/^ 
Anaclete Reiffenstuel '(+ 1703) ; ^^ Louis Abelly 
(+1691);^^ St. Alphonsus Maria de' Liguori 

A. Lehmkuhl, S.J., in 1905) is still 
in use. His Theologia Moralis Quor 
dripartita appeared at Cologne in 
1750; his Casus Conscientiae, ibid., 


» His Theologia Moralis (4 vols., 
Naples 1748; Augsburg 1756) was 
burnt by order of Parliament at 
Paris (1763) because of its "laxism." 

10 Voit's Theologia Moralis ap- 
peared at Wiirzburg, Bavaria, where 
he was a university professor, in 
1750, and passed through at least ten 
editions (Wiirzburg, Bassano, Rome, 
Paris). Gury calls him "probabilista 
moderatus, doctrind et in primis 
practicis resolutionibus commenda- 
tus." Hurter subscribes to this 
praise, but adds: "Nitidior tamen 
rerum expositio et magis ordinata 
methodus in opere desideratur." 
(Nomenclator Lit. Theol. Cath., 3rd 
ed., Vol. V, Part i, col, 234 sq.) 

11 The Salmanticenses were a 
group of theologians of the Order 
of Discalced Carmelites, teaching 
and writing at Salamanca in Spain 
at the end of the sixteenth and 
the beginning of the seventeenth 
century. They made strict adhe- 
rence to Thomism their fundamental 
principle. Their Cursus Theologiae 
Moralis was begun in 1665 by Fran- 
cisco de Jesus-Maria and completed 
by Alonso de los Angeles. Cfr. B. 
Zimmerman, O.D.C., in the Cath. 
Encyclopedia, Vol. XIII, pp. 401 sq.; 
H. Hurter, S.J., Nomenclator Lite- 
rarius Theologiae Catholicae, Theo- 
logos Exhibens Aetate, Natione, Di- 
sciplinis Distinctos, Vol. IV, 3rd ed.. 

Innsbruck 19 10, pp. 275 sq., 1296 sq. 

12 Sporer taught theology for 
many years at Passau in Bavaria. 
He is the author of numerous works, 
chief among them Theologia Moralis 
Decalogalis et Sacramentalis, 3 vols, 
in folio, Wurzburg 1681, re-edited 
at Salzburg, 1692, latest edition 
by J. Bierbaum, O.F.M., Paderborn 
1 901 sqq. — For a short biographical 
sketch of Sporer see the Cath. En- 
cyclopedia, Vol. XIV, p. 236. 

13 Elbel's Theologia Moralis per 
Modum Conferentiarum (Venice 
1733) was highly esteemed and often 
quoted by St. Alphonsus. It has 
been re-edited in three volumes by 
J. Bierbaum, O.F.M., Paderborn, 3rd 
ed., 1904 sqq. This book is still a 
favorite with confessors. Cfr. Buch- 
berger's Kirchliches Handlexikon, 
Vol. I, Munich 1907, col. 1265. 

14 Reiffenstuel (see Cath. Encyclo- 
pedia, Vol. XII, pp. 724 sq.) is best 
known as a canonist. His Theo- 
logia Moralis, first published at Mu- 
nich, in 1692, passed through thirty 
editions, most notable among them 
those prepared by his fellow-Fran- 
ciscan, M. Kresslinger (Modena 
1740; Munich 1742). The edition 
issued by Flavianus Ricci i Cim- 
bria (Augsburg 1777) makes Reiffen- 
stuel a Probabiliorist. In reality he 
was a Probabilist. 

15 Abelly was appointed bishop of 
Rodez in 1664, but resigned his see 
in 1666 and attached himself to 
St. Vincent de Paul, whose biogra- 
pher he became. His famous Me- 
dulla Theologica (1651) went through 



(+ 1787);" the Dominicans Didacus Alvarez 
(+1635)/^ Daniel Concina (+1756)/* and 
J. V. Patuzzi (+ i769).^» The great work of 
the Wirceburgenses, which first appeared at 

many editions. One appeared at 
Ratisbon as late as 1839. Accord- 
ing to St. Alphonsus, Abelly is "a 
classic in probabilism." (Cfr. T. J. 
Campbell, SJ., in the Cath. En- 
cyclopedia, Vol. I, p. 39). 

16 Liguori's famous Moral The- 
ology first appeared at Naples, in 
1748, under the title. Medulla Theo- 
logiae Moralis R, P. Busembaum 
S.J. cum Adnotationibus per R. P, 
Alphonsum de Ligorio. The sec- 
ond edition was entitled, Theologia 
Moralis Concinnata a R. P. Alphonso 
de Ligorio . . . per Appendices in 
Medullam R. P. H. Busembaum, Na- 
ples 1753. The third and following 
editions appeared in Venice (1756 
sqq.). The ninth, published in 1785, 
received ecclesiastical approval in 
1803. Recent editions by M. Heilig 
(Malines 1845, Paris 1857), M. Har- 
inger (8 vols., Ratisbon 1846-47, 
2nd ed., Paris 1879-81); Le Noir 
(4 vols., Paris 1875, 2nd ed., 1884); 
and L. Gaude (3 vols., Rome 1905 
sqq.). Second in importance among 
the Saint's moral writings is his com- 
pendium entitled Istruzione e Pratica 
per li Confessori (1757), republished 
in Latin under the title. Homo Apo- 
stolicus Instructus in Sua Vocatione 
ad Audiendas Confessiones, in 1759. 
Besides, St. Alphonsus wrote a large 
number of dogmatic and ascetical 
works. His Letters {Lett ere di Al- 
phonso di Liguori, 3 vols., Rome 
1887; German ed., Ratisbon 1892- 
94) are concerned almost entirely 
with the spiritual conflicts going on in 
his time. (Cfr. H. Castle, S.J., in 
the CatK Encyclopedia, Vol. I, pp. 

334 sqq.; Buchberger, Kirchliches 
Handlexikon, Vol. I, p. 138). 

17 Archbishop of Trani, 1616-35, 
chiefly known as a commentator of 
St. Thomas and defender of the 
Thomistic teaching against the 
Molinists, (Cfr. Hurter, Nomen- 
clator Lit. Theol. Cath., 3rd ed.. Vol. 
Ill, col. 659 sqq.) 

18 Concina was a famous preacher. 
His literary activity was confined 
chiefly to moral topics. His Storia 
del Probabilismo e Rigorismo (Ven- 
ice 1743), being directed against the 
Jesuits, naturally gave rise to con- 
troversy, which reached a climax 
when Concina, under the auspices of 
Benedict XIV, published his Theo- 
logia Christiana Dogmatico-M oralis, 
12 vols, in 4to, Rome and Venice 
1749-51. For a brief account of 
this controversy and Concina's later 
career see Jos. Schroeder, O.P., in 
the Cath. Encyclopedia, Vol. IV, pp. 
191 sq. 

19 Patuzzi was a prolific writer. 
Some of his works appeared pseu- 
donymously (Eusebio Eraniste, 
Adelfo Dositeo). He was a violent 
opponent of Probabilism and pub- 
lished two pamphlets against St. 
Alphonsus: La Causa del Probabi- 
lismo (Ferrara 1764) and Osserva- 
zioni Teologiche {ibid. 1765). His 
principal work is the Ethica Chri- 
stiana sive Theologia Moralis, 3 
vols., folio, Bassano 1760; new ed., 
16 vols., 8vo, Venice 1770. (Cfr. 
Buchberger's Kirchliches Handlexi- 
kon, Vo\. II, col. 1369 sq.; Hurter, 
Nomenclator Lit. Theol. Cath., 3rd 
ed.. Vol. V, Part I, col. 226 sqq.) 



Wiirzburg, Bavaria, in 1766-71 and was re- 
printed in Paris nearly a century later, is deserv- 
ing of special mention.^^ 

Notable monographs on various ethical topics 
were composed by Francis Suarez, SJ.,^^ Car- 
dinal John de Lugo, SJ. (+1660),'' Thomas 
Sanchez, SJ. (+ 1610),'' Martin Bonacina 

20 The Theologi Wirceburgenses 
were four eminent Jesuit profes- 
sors of theology, — Henry Kilber 
( 4- 1782), Theodore Holtzclau 
( _}_ 1783), Ignatius Neubauer 
( ^ 1795), and Ulric Munier or 
Muller ( -f 1759). Their magnum 
opus (14 volumes, Wiirzburg 
1766-1771, new edition, lo vols., 
Paris 1879-80) constitutes a com- 
plete course of dogmatic and 
moral theology and is characterized 
by clearness and solidity of thought. 
In the Paris edition of 1879-80, Vol. 
V contains De Beatitudine, De Acti- 
bus Humanis, and De Legibus (by 
Neubauer); Vol. VI, De lure et 
lustitia (by Holtzclau); Vol. VII, 
De Peccatis, De Gratia, De JusHH- 
catione, and De Merito (by Kilber); 
Vol. VIII, De Virtutibus Theologicis 
(by Kilber). Vols. IX and X con- 
tain the treatises on the Sacraments. 
Cfr. K. Werner, Geschichte der kath. 
Theologie, pp. 242 sq.; Herder's 
Kirchenlexikon, Vol. XII, col. 1706- 
08; Hurter, Nomenclator Lit. Theol. 
Cath., 3rd ed., Vol. V, Part i, n. 
133 (col. 262 sqq.); A. Ruland, 
Series et Vitae Professorum SS. 
Theol., qui Wirceburgi docuerunt, 
Wurzburg 1835. 

21 De Legibus, De Triplici Vir- 
tute Theologica, De Virtute Re- 
ligionis. — On the life and writings of 
this famous theologian, who founded 
a school of his own in Scholasticism, 

see Goyena's article in the Cath. En- 
cyclopedia, Vol. XIV, pp. 319 aq. 
22 Disp. de Virtute Fidei Divinae, 
De Poenitentia, De lustitia et lure, 
Responsorum Moralium Diversorum 
Libri Sex, etc.— "Endowed with un- 
common speculative genius and 
clear, practical judgment, he [John 
de Lugol in many instances pointed 
out entirely new paths towards the 
solution of moral questions. Speak- 
ing of his Moral Theology, St. Al- 
phonsus styles him *by all odds 
leader after St. Thomas.'" (Lehm- 
kuhl in the Cath. Encyclopedia, Vol. 

XIV, p. 607). 

23 Sanchez* chief work, and the 
only one he himself edited, is the 
Disputationes de Sacramento Matri- 
monii (Genoa 1602), of which Fr. 
Wernz, late General of the Society 
of Jesus, says {lus Decretalium, 
IV, n. 20) that it is even today 
reckoned by the Roman Curia among 
the classical works on marriage. 
Strangely enough, the third volume 
appears on the Index. Even in the 
earlier editions of the Index, as re- 
vised by Leo XIII, till his Con- 
stitution "OfRciorum et munerum," 
may still be read: "Sanches, Thorn, 
Disputationum de Sacramento Matri- 
monii tom. in. ed. Venetiae, sive 
aliarum, a quibus I. 8 disp. 7 de- 
tractus est integer num. 4. Deer. 4 
Feb. 1627." This number, as Fr. 
Lehmkuhl explains {^Cath. EncycL, 



(+1631),=^* Peter Hurtado de Mendoza, SJ. 
(+i63i),2' Dominic Soto, O.P. (+1560),*" 
Louis de Molina, SJ. (+1600)," Leonard Les- 
sius, SJ. (+ i623),2« and John de Dicastillo, S.J. 
(+ 1653).^ 

b) The chief exponents of the casuistic method 
were Martin de Azpilcueta, known as "Doctor 
Nayarrus" (+1586), whose Manuale Confes- 
sariorum was highly esteemed ; Francisco de To- 
ledo, S. J. (+ 1596), philosopher, theologian, and 
exegete, who besides many other valuable works 
wrote a comprehensive Summa Casuum; ^ Louis 

XIII, 428), which was omitted from 
the Venice edition of 16 14, treats of 
the power of the Pope to grant a 
valid legitimation, through the so- 
called sanatio in radice, of the off- 
spring of marriages invalid only 
through Canon Law. 

24 Bonacina was Bishop of Utica. 
He died on the way to Vienna, 
where he was to serve as Apostolic 
nuncio. He wrote a Theologia 
M oralis (2 vols., Lyons 1624), of 
which the treatise De Legibus has 
attained fame. 

25 He wrote Sckolasticae et Mo- 
rales Disputationes de Tribus Vir- 
tutibus Theologicis, 2 vols., folio, 
Salamanca 1631. — Hurter says of 
him: "Ingenio fuit acerrimo, doc- 
trind eximiA, quern doctissimus Ri- 
palda semper magistrum veneratus 
est."^ (Nomenclator Lit. Theol. Cath,, 
3rd ed., Vol. Ill, col. 927). 

26£>e lustitia et lure Libri De- 
cern, Salamanca 1556. — On Soto see 
Ch. J. Callan, O.P., in the Cath, 
Encyclopedia, Vol. XIV, pp. 152 sq. 

27 For a good sketch of Molina's 
life see J. Pohle in the Cath. En- 

cyclopedia. Vol. X, pp. 436 sq. 
There is no modern critical biog- 
raphy of this learned and renowned 
theologian. His treatise De lustitia 
et lure (Cuenca 1593), a classic, is 
frequently quoted at the present time 
(7 vols., Venice 1614; 5 vols., Co- 
logne 1733). 

28 Lessius was a Flemish Jesuit 
and a theologian of high repute. 
His chief moral works are: De 
lustitia et lure, published in 1605 
and subsequently in many editions; 
De Summo Bono (Antwerp 1616), 
and De Perfectionibus Moribusque 
Divinis Libri XIV (Antwerp 
1620).— Cfr. J. de Ghellinck in the 
Cath. Encyclopedia, Vol. IX, pp. 
192 sq. 

29 Dicastillo was of Spanish de- 
scent. He taught at Naples and 
Ingolstadt, wrote Tract atus Duo de 
luramento, Periurio et Adiuratione, 
necnon de Censuris et Poenis Ec- 
clesiasticis (Antwerp 1662) and De 
lustitia et lure Ceterisque Virtuti- 
bus Cardinalibus Libri Duo (Ant- 
werp 1641). 

80 This author is more commonly 



4 % 

Lopez, O.P. (+ 1596), author of a book entitled 
Instructorium Conscientiae;^^ Emanuel Sa, SJ. 
(_^ 1596), whose Aphorismi Confessariorum 
ran through many editions; '^ Valerius Reginald, 
Sj^ (+ 1623), whose Praxis Fori Poeniten- 
tialis ^^ and other writings were praised by St. 
Francis de Sales and led St. Alphonsus to rank the 
author among the classics of Moral Theology ; ^^ 
and Stephen Bauny, S.J. (+ 1649), author of a 
Summa Casuum Conscientiae, who owes his fame 

mainly to Pascal.^^ 

The abuses incident to the one-sidedly casuis- 
tical treatment of Moral Theology were corn- 
batted by Prosper Lambertini, later Pope Bene- 
dict XIV (De Synodo Dioecesana, Institutiones 

known as Toletus. His Summa ap- 
peared at Lyons in i599 and passed 
through forty-six editions and many 
translations (Spanish by Juan de 
Salas; Italian by Andreo Verna; 
French by Goffar) ; also summaries 
in Latin, Spanish, French, and Ital- 
ian. (Cfr. Goyena, in the Cath. En- 
cyclopedia, Vol. XIV, pp. 760 sq.) 

31 Salamanca 1585; repeatedly re- 
printed. Lopez also wrote De Con- 
tractibus et Negotiationibus, ibid, 


82 Venice 1596. The book was 
put on the Index in 1603, because of 
its defense of the validity of con- 
fession by letter; released, 1608. 
(H. Reusch, Der Index der verbo- 
tenen Biicher, Vol. II, i, pp. 312 
sq.; Hurter, Nomenclator Lit. Thcol. 
Cath., 3rd ed., Vol. Ill, col. 223 sq.) 

33 2 vols., Lyons 1616. 

34 Cfr. Buchberger, Kirchliches 
Handlexikon, Vol. II, col. 1707. 

35 Bauny was highly esteemed for 
his learning and holiness. His 
"knowledge of Moral Theology was 
singularly profound, but he was in 
many points too lenient," says Fr. 
T. Barrett, S.J. {Cath. Encyclopedia, 
Vol. II, p. 352). Bauny's prin- 
cipal works were: Pratique du 
Droit Canonique au Gouvernement 
de VEglise (Paris 1634) and.S'owmr 
des PecMz qui se commettent en 
tous Etats (Paris 1630). These two 
books, as well as the first part of 
Bauny's Moral Theology, were put 
on the Index. (Cfr. Hurter, No- 
menclator Lit. Theol. Cath., srd ed., 
Vol. Ill, col. 1 1 86 sq.). It was 
mainly Bauny's teaching that the 
enemies of the Jesuits exploited in 
order to convict the Society of 


Ecclesiasticae, Quaestiones Canonicae), and es- 
pecially by St. Alphonsus de' Liguori, who sub- 
jected the views of the casuists to a thorough crit- 
icism and separated the wheat from the chaff. 

c) Speculative mysticism having fallen into 
disrepute in the course of the previous period, the 
exponents of mystic theology now turned their at- 
tention to ascetics. The following writers de- 
serve mention as safe guides on the way of 
Christian perfection: 

Francis Louis de Blois, a Flemish Benedictine 
abbot, more widely known by the Latinized form 
of his name, Blosius (+ 1566) ;^® 

Louis of Granada, O.P. (+1588), called by 
St. Francis de Sales ^'the prince of spiritual 
writers'' r^"^ 

36 De Blois* writings are numer- 
ous. They were first published in a 
complete edition at Louvain, in 1568, 
and many of them have been fre- 
quently reprinted and translated. 
In the English-speaking world he is 
known principally by his Mirror for 
Monks {Speculum Monachorum), 
translated into English by Sir John 
Coleridge, 1872, the Book of Spirit- 
ual Instruction (London 1900), and 
Comfort for the Fainthearted (Lon- 
don 1902), the latter two works 
translated by Father Bertrand Wil- 
berforce, O.P. (Cfr. G. Cyprian 
Alston, O.S.B., in the Cath. Encyclo- 
pedia, Vol. II, p. 604). 

37 A famous preacher and theolo- 
gian, provincial of the Portuguese 
Dominicans, confessor and counsel- 
lor to the queen regent. He de- 
clined the honors of the cardinalate 

offered him by Sixtus V. "Among 
the hundreds of eminent ascetical 
writers of Spain, Louis of Granada 
remains unsurpassed in the . beauty 
and purity of his style, the solidity 
of his doctrine, and the popularity 
and influence of his writings." (J. 
B. O'Connor, SJ., in the Cath, 
Encyclopedia, Vol. IX, p. 385). 
Nearly all of his works were trans- 
lated into the various European 
languages, and several into Turkish 
and Japanese. The best known of 
his books is La Guia de Pecadores 
(Bajadoz 1555), which has been 
favorably compared to the Imita- 
tion of Thomas a Kempis. A new 
and revised English ed.. New York 
1889. The first part of The Sin- 
ner's Guide, entitled Counsels on 
Holiness of Life, was^^ edited by 
Shipley in The Ascetic Library, 



St. Teresa of Jesus (+1582), whose autobio- 
graphical v^ritings have been compared to the 
Confessions of St. Augustine ; ^^ 

St. John of the Cross (+ 1591), co-founder, 
with St. Teresa, of the Discalced Carmelites, 
whose system has been described as "empirical 
mysticism'' ; ^^ 

Lorenzo Scupoli, Theatine (+ 1610), whose 
Spiritual Combat is still widely used for purposes 
of devotion ; ^^ 

Alonzo Rodriguez, S.J. (+ 1616), whose 
Practice of Christian and Religious Perfection 

Vol. VIII, London 1869. It con- 
tains a brief sketch of the author's 
life. (V. O'Connor, I.e.) 

38 For a life and list of her writ- 
ings see B. Zimmerman, O.D.C, in 
the Cath. Encyclopedia, Vol. XIV, 
pp. 515 sqq. — The most recent Eng- 
lish translations are by Lewis, Life 
and Relations, ed. Zimmerman, 4th 
cd., London 191 1; The Interior 
Castle, Exclamations, and The Way 
of Perfection, tr. by the Benedictines 
of Stanbrook, ed. Zimmerman; the 
two former, London 1906, the latter, 
London 191 1. Cfr. Burke, St. Te- 
resa, New York 191 1. 

39 For a sketch of his life and 
writings see B. Zimmerman, O.D.C, 
in the Cath. Encyclopedia, Vol. 
VIII, pp. 480 sq. English tr. of 
John's works by D. Lewis, London 
1864, with an introduction by Wise- 
man; revised by the translator and 
reprinted, London 1889, in 4 vols., 
with introductions by Fr. Zimmer- 
man. Of his life by Lewis, Fr. Zim- 
merman says (ibid., p. 481): "The 
Life of St. John of the Cross (Lon- 

don 1889), compiled from all his 
Spanish biographers and from other 
sources, by D. Lewis, is excellent; 
but what is most wanted now is a 
biography founded upon the deposi- 
tions of witnesses in the process of 
beatification. Not until that work is 
done shall we have a true picture of 
the saint." 

40 On Scupoli see Kaulen in Her- 
der's Kirchenlexikon, Vol. XI, col. 
18; Hurter, Nomenclator Lit. Theol. 
Cath., 3rd ed.. Vol. Ill, col. 616. 
He entered the Theatine Order at 
the age of forty and became a much 
sought confessor, until forced to re- 
tire by calumnies {"calumniis, qui- 
bus non liquet," says Hurter, I.e.), 
was reduced to the lay state by a 
general chapter of his Order, and 
spent the remaining twenty-five 
years of his life in humble retire- 
ment. The Combattimento Spiri- 
tuale first appeared anonymously at 
Venice, in 1589. It has seen in- 
numerable editions and been trans- 
lated into nearly all European lan- 




has been a source of untold consolation to reliff- 
lous and laymen throughout the world • '' 

Cardinal Robert Bellarmine (+ 162/), the dis- 
tinguished Jesuit theologian, whose devotional 
writings were the fruit of his annual retreats • « 
_ Ven. Louis de Lapuente, or De Ponte, S.T. 
(+1624), known to English readers mainly by 

his ChnsHan Life and Meditations on the Mvs^ 

tertes of Our Holy Faith; ^^ 

Cardinal John Bona, a Cistercian (+ 1674) 

whose best known ascetical works are his Manu^ 

duetto ad Caelum and his treatise on the Sacrifice 

of the Mass ; ^^ 

*iA short life of this popular 
spiritual writer is prefixed to the 
English translation of The Practice 
of Christian and Religious Perfec- 
tion. London 1861. John Gilmary 
-. Shea left a translation which has 
never been published. Fr. Th. 
Slater has contributed a biographical 
sketch of Rodriguez to the Cath, En- 
cyclopedia. Vol. XIII, p. ,09. He 
says of the Practice: "It is a book 
of practical instructions on all the 
virtues which go to make up the per- 
fect Christian life, whether lived in 
the cloister or in the world. It be- 
came popular at once, and it is as 
much used to-day as it was when 
It first became known. More than 
twenty-five editions of the original 
Spanish have been issued, besides 
extracts and abridgments. More 
than sixty editions have appeared 
in French in seven different trans- 
lations, twenty in Italian, at least 
ten in German, and eight in Utin. 
An English translation from the 
French by Fr. Antony Hoskins, S.J., 

was printed at St. Omer in 1612. 

The best known English translation. 

often reprinted, is that which first 

appeared in London, 1697. from the 
French of Abbe Regnier des Marais." 
*2 Bellarmine's spiritual writings 
are mainly five, zng. : De Ascensione 
Mentis ad Deum (1615), De Aeterna 
tel%c%tate Sanctorum (1616), De 
Cemitu Columbae (1617), De Sep- 
tern Verbis Christi (1618), and De 
Arte Bene Moriendi (1620).— On 
Bellarmine see S. F. Smith, S.J., 
m the Cath. Encyclopedia, Vol. II, 
pp. 411 sqq. 

*8 On Lapuente see H. J. Swift's 
article s v. in the Cath. Encyclo- 
pedia, Vol. IX, p. 3. 

44 The Manuductio has been com- 
pared to the Imitation of Thomas 
a Kempis on account of its simplic- 
ity. It appeared in 1658 and in 
four decades passed through four- 
teen Utin editions. It has been 
translated into Italian, French, Ger- 
man, Spanish, and Armenian. An 
English translation, by Sir Robert 



St. Francis de Sales (+ 1622), Bishop of 
Geneva and Doctor of the Universal Church, 
whose Traite de I' Amour de Dieu, also known as 
Introduction a la Vie Devote, was translated into 
nearly all civilized languages and went through 
innumerable editions.^^ 

An excellent introduction to ascetic theology is 
the Direttorio Ascetico of J. B. Scaramelli, SJ. 
( + 1752), translated into English by Eyre/^ 

2. In the second half of the eighteenth century 
Moral Theology was detached from its supernatu- 
ral basis and almost completely identified with 
moral philosophy. Catholic as well as Protes- 
tant theologians, especially in Germany, suc- 
cumbed to the influence of Rationalism, as em- 
bodied in the philosophical systems of Leibnitz,*^ 
Wolflf, Kant, and Fichte,"" and based their moral 
teaching exclusively on "practical reason.'' 
Thus Moral Theology lost its Christian and ec- 

L*Estrange, appeared in London, 
1900, under the title, A Guide to , 
Eternity. Other well known asceti- 
cal works by the same author are: 
Via Compendii ad Deum (1657)* 
Principia et Documenta Vitae 
Christianae (1673), and Horologium 
Asceticum (1676). — See the CatK 
Encyclopedia, Vol. II, PP. 645 sq. 

45 A complete critical edition of 
the writings of St. Francis de Sales 
appeared at Annecy, 1892 sqq. The 
Traite de I'Amour de Dieu origin- 
ally appeared at Lyons in 1608. 

46 Best edition, Ratisbon 1883, 3 
Tols.; English translation. The Di- 

rectorium Asceticum, with Preface 
by Cardinal Manning, Dublin and 
London, 1870-71; new, revised ed.. 
London 1879-81; Latin translation, 
Brixen 1770; Louvain 1848; German 
translation, Augsburg 1778; Spanish, 
Madrid 1806; French, Paris 1854.— 
For a brief sketch of Scaramelli*s 
life see H. Ollion, in the Cath. En- 
cyclopedia, Vol. XIII, p. 514- 

47 Cfr. Wm. Turner, History of 
Philosophy, Boston 1903, pp. 506 


48 Turner, op, cit,, pp. S^S* 5^8 

sqq., 550 sqq. 



clesiastical character. The teachings of Revela- 
tion were respected only in so far as they were 
considered useful in advancing morality and cor- 
recting the disproportion existing between vir- 
tue and happiness in this life. 

Moral Theology was restored to its pristine 
character and dignity by Benedict Stattler, 
M. (+1797),"* A. N. Oberrauch, OFM 
(+ i8o8),«o M. von Schenkl, O.S.B. (+ igia") " 
J. A. Stapf (+ 1844),- and especially J. M, 
Sailer Bishop of Ratisbon (+ 1832) ^^ and T. B. 
Hirscher (+1865)." 

a) Of recent writers the following have 
treated Moral Theology positively and system- 
atically, without however neglecting casuistry 

i9Ethica Christiana Universalis, 
Ingolstadt 1772; Ethica Christiana 
Communis, 3 vols, in 6 parts, Augs- 
burg 1782; Vollstandige christliche 
Sxttenlchre, 2 vols., Augsburg 1791 
—On Stattler see A. C. Cotter, SJ.. 
in the Cath. Encyclopedia, Vol XIV 
p. 282. 

50 Oberrauch is also known by his 
name in the Franciscan Order, "Her- 
culanus." His principal work is In- 
stitutiones lustitiae Christianae sive 
Theologia Moralis, in 4 vols., Inns- 
bruck 1794. It was placed on the 
Index in 1796, but the censure was 
not enforced against a new revised 
edition published at Bamberg and 
Nuremberg in 1797-98. (F. Her- 
der's Kirchenlexikon, Vol. IX, col 

^1 Ethica Christiana Universalis 
3 vols., 1800; 5th ed., Gran 1830! 
(Cfr. Buchberger, Kirchliches Hand- 
lexikon. Vol. II, col. 1959). 

^2 Theologia Moralis, 1827-31- 
7th ed., 4 vols., 1855. The same 
in German, Die christliche Moral 
4 vols., 1841-42. (Buchberger, op 
ctt., II, 2194). 

63 Sailer was a much misjudged 
man. but he has been rehabilitated 
of late years. (F. R. Stolzle in the 
Cath. Encyclopedia, Vol. XIII, p 
328; Buchberger's Kirchliches 
Handlexikon, Vol. II, col. 1883 sq.). 
Sailer's Handbuch der christlichen 
Moral appeared in 3 vols, at Munich, 
1817-18, and was reprinted at Sulz- 
bach in 1834.— See Ph. Klotz, Sailer 
als Moralphilosoph, Paderborn 1909. 
64 On Hirscher see Goyau in the 
Cath. Encyclopedia, Vol. VII, pp. 
Z^3 sqq. His chief moral work isj 
Die christliche Moral als Lehre von 
der Verwirklichung des gottlichen 
Retches in der Menschheit, Tubin- 
gen 183s; 5th ed., 3 vols., 1851. 



and the practical application of moral principles : 
Fr. Probst (+ 1899),'' B. Fuchs,'' Conrad 
Martin, Bishop of Paderborn (Germany) 
(+1879),^^ Karl Werner (+ i888)/« M. 
Jocham (+ 1893)/^ F. Friedhoffr A. Rietter 
(+ 1866),^' Archbishop Th. H. Simar of Co- 
logne (+ 1902);^ J. E. Pruner (+ 1907),'' 
Thomas J. BouquiUon (+ 1902);^ F. X. Linsen- 
mann, Bishop of Rottenburg (+ 1898),^' J. 
Schwane (+ 1892 ),^« J. Scheicher,^^ J. Rappen- 
honer;^ P. Michel/^' and F. M. SchindlerJ" 

b) The following authors employ the Scholas- 
tic method and aim to satisfy mainly the prac- 

55 Kath. Moraltheologie, 2 vols., 
Tiibingen 1848-50, 2nd ed., 1853. 

56 System der christlichen Sitten- 
lehre, Augsburg 185 1. 

57 Lehrbuch der kath. Moral, May- 
ence 1849; 5th ed., 1865. 

58 System der christlichen Ethik, 3 
vols., Ratisbon 1850-52; Vol. I, 2nd 
ed., 1888; Enchiridion Theotogiae 
Moralis, Vienna 1863. 

59 Moraltheologie, 3 vols., Sulz- 

bach 1852-54. 

60 Allgemeine Moraltheologie, Rat- 
isbon i860; Spesielle Moraltheologie, 


61 Breviarium der christl. Ethik, 

Ratisbon 1866. 

62 Lehrbuch der Moraltheologie, 

Freiburg 1867; 3rd ed., 1893. 

63 Kath. Moraltheologie, Freiburg 
1875; 3rd ed., 1902-03, 3 vols. 

64 Dr. BouquiUon is remembered 
in this country, where he taught 
Moral Theology in the Catholic 
University of America. His mag- 
num opus is: Institutiones Theo- 

logiae Moralis, Vol. I: Theologia 
Moralis Fundamentalis, Bruges 
1873, 3rd ed., 1903; Vol. II: De 
Virtutibus Theologicis, 1878, 2nd 
ed., 1890; Vol. Ill: De Virtute 
Religionis, 1880, 2nd ed., 1890. 

65 Dr. Linsenmann died as 
Bishop elect of Rottenburg (Wiir- 
temberg). His Lehrbuch der Mo- 
raltheologie (Freiburg 1878) exer- 
cised great influence upon contem- 
porary theology. The reader will 
notice that he is frequently quoted 
in this Handbook. 

66 Allgemeine Moraltheologie, Frei- 
burg 1885; Spesielle Moraltheo- 
logie, 1878; 2nd ed., 1885. 

67 Allgemeine Moraltheologie, Rat- 
isbon 1885. 

68 Allgemeine Moraltheologie. Mun- 

ster 1891-93. 

69 Theologiae Moralis Principia, 2 

vols., Paris 1900-02. 

70 Lehrbuch der Moraltheologie, 3 
vols., Vienna 1907 sqq. 



tical needs of the confessor: J. P. Gury, SJ. 
(+ 1866)," P. Scavini (+ 1869)," E. M. Miiller 
(+ i888)/« J. d'Annibale (+ 1892)/* C Marc 
(+ 1887)," Aug. Lehmkuhl, SJ./« J. Aertnys, 
C.SS.R.," J. Bucceroni, SJ.," A. Ballerini, S.J., 
and Dom. Palmieri, S.J./» G. B. Tepe, S.J. 
(+ 1894)^ F. A. Gopfert (+ 1916)," H. Nol- 

71 Compendium Theologiae Mo- 
talis, 2 vols., Lyons and Paris 1850; 
Ratisbon 1857; 5th cd., 1874J new 
ed., enlarged by H. Dumas, 5th cd., 
Freiburg i. B. 1891; revised by A. 
Ballerini, SJ. (+ 188 1), Rome 
1874; 6th ed., 1882; revised by 
Dom. Palmieri, S.J., 14th ed., 1902; 
adapted to American conditions by 
A. Konings, C.SS.R. (Theohgia 
M oralis, Boston 1874, 2nd ed., 2 
vols.. New York 1876; two later 
editions by H. Kuper, C.SS.R.; for 
a biographical sketch of Konings 
see the Cath, Encyclopedia, Vol. 
VIII, pp. 690 sq.); again adapted 
to American conditions and con- 
densed by Aloysius Sabetti, S.J., 
New York 1884; frequently revised 
and re-edited since by T. Barrett, 
S.J.; 22nd ed.. New York 1915.— A 
Spanish edition of Gury's Compen- 
dium, with many additions, has 
been published by J. B. Ferreres, 
S.J., 3rd ed., Barcelona 1906. — For 
a brief sketch of Gury's life see J. 
Salsmans, S.J., in the Cath, En- 
cyclopedia, Vol. VII, p. 89. For 
a refutation of certain calumnies 
circulated against his work, cfr. 
B. Duhr. S.J., Jesuitenfabeln, 4th 
ed., Freiburg 1904, pp. 474 sqq. 

72 Theologia Moralis Universa ad 
Mentem S. Alphonsi, 4 vols., 3rd 
ed., Novara 1847, nth ed., Milan 
1901; Theologia Moralis in Com- 

pendium Redacta by I. A. Del 
Vecchio, 2 vols., sth ed., Milan 

73 Theologia Moralis, 3 vols., 
Augsburg 1868-70, later editions by 
A. Schmuckenschlager (-f 1908). 

74 Summula Theologiae Moralis, 3 
vols., Milan 1881-83; 5th ed., Rome 
1908; Supplementum by D. Manna- 
joli, Rome 1909. 

75 InstituHones Morales Alphonsi- 
anae, 2 vols.. Rome 1885; 13th cd., 
1906, edited by J. Kannengiesser. 

76 Theologia Moralis, 2 vols., Frei- 
burg i. B., 1883-84; nth ed. i"de 
integro revisa, refecta, adaucta*'), 
ibid., 1910; Compendium Theol. 
Mor., ibid., 1886, 5th cd., 1907. 
Lehmkuhl is probably the most fre- 
quently quoted and the most highly 
esteemed of present-day moralists. 

77 Theologia Moralis iuxta Doc- 
trinam S. Alphonsi, Tournay 1887, 
7th cd., 1906. 

IS Institutiones Theologiae Mo- 
ralis, 4 vols., Rome 1887, 6th ed., 
1914-15. (F. La Civiltd Cattolica, 
1917. quad. 1 60 1, pp. 604 sqq.) 

79 Opus Theologicum Morale in 
Busembaum Medullam, 7 vols., Prati 
1889-91, 3rd ed., 1902-03. 

80 InstituHones Theologiae Moralis 
Generalis, 2 vols., Paris 1899. 

SI Moraltheologie, 3 vols., Padcr- 
bom 1897-98; Vols. I and II in 6th 
ed., 1909; Vol. Ill in 5th cd., 1906. 



din, SJ.,'^ H. Gatterer (a Sexten), SJ. 
(+ 1899)/' D. Delama,'' J. C Yives,«' E. 
Berardi,^' A. Bulot,'VA. Tanquery^^ and J. Bus- 
quet,^® to whom we must add an eminent Ameri- 
can theologian, the Most Reverend Francis Pat- 
rick Kenrick, Archbishop of Baltimore (+1863), 
whose Theologia Moralis did such splendid serv- 
ice to the American clergy during the latter half 
of the nineteenth century.^^ 

82 Summa Theologiae Moralis, 3 
vols., Innsbruck 1901-02, 7th ed., 

1908 (a splendid treatise). 

83 Compendium Theologiae Mo- 
ralis, Messina 1899, 2nd ed., Stutt- 
gart 1900, 3rd ed., 1902. 

84 Institutiones Theologiae Mo- 
ralis, 2 vols., Trent 1902. 

85 Compendium Theologiae Mo- 
ralis, 8th ed., Rome 1904. Vives has 
also written an excellent Compen- 
dium Theologiae Ascetico-Mysticae, 
3rd ed., Rome 1908. 

86 Theologia Moralis Fundamen- 
talis, Faenza 1905; Praxis Confes- 
sariorum, 4 vols., ibid.f 190S. 

87 Compendium Theologiae Mo- 
ralis, 2 vols., Paris 1905. 

88 Synopsis Theologiae Moralis et 
Pastoralis ad Mentem S. Thomae et 
S. Alphonsi, 2 vols., 2nd ed.. Tour- 
nay and Lille 1904-05. 

89 Thesaurus Confessarii, 4th ed., 

Paris 1909. 

90 Kenrick's Theologia Moralis 
first appeared at Philadelphia. We 
have before us the second, revised 
edition, 2 vols., Malines 1860-61. 
Hurler {Norn. Theol. Cath., Vol. 
V, 3rd ed., Innsbruck 1911, col. 
1 1 52) does not mention the date of 
the first edition, but says that the 
second was puWJ^ljpd 9t Maycncc 

(?). He calls the work "valde 
practica." John J. O'Shea, in his 
article on Kenrick in Vol. VIII, pp. 
618 sq. of the Cath. Encyclopedia 
is indefinite and inaccurate. Ken- 
rick follows St. Alphonsus, whose 
very words he frequently adopts. 
He says in the •Trooemium" (2d 
ed.. Vol. I. p. XIV): "Inter re- 
centiores ethices cultores eminet S. 
Alphonsus de Ligorio, qui saeculo 
proxime elapso floruit, nostra aetate 
sacris Ecclesiae honoribus auctus. 
Evolvisse videtur libros fere omnes 
de hac disciplina tractantes, scien- 
tiae adiungens rerum peritiam; per 
annos enim plurimos in animarum 
cura versabatur: adeo ut studii et 
exercitii fructus in Theologia Mo- 
rali quam scripsit, nobis reliquerit. 
Hanc semper prae manibus habui- 
mus; dum opus hoc nostrum quale- 
cumque pararemus, eiusque exscrip-^ 
simus saepe saepius verba, secuti 
libenter auctoritatem, quam magnam 
esse constat ex S. Poenitentiariae 
responsis {die 5 ^«^« ^^5^). et etiam 
ex Pit IX. documentis. Nostra ta- 
men usi sumus iudicio, tenui licet et 
inHrmo, cut nihil petimus Udendum, 
nisi quatenus suffragetur auctoritas 
et rationum momenta/* 



c) Of special value from the standpoint of 
particular casuistics are the Casus Conscientiae of 
J. P. Gury," P. Villada,«2 J. Bucceroni,«* E. 
Genicot,''* A. Lehmkuhl, S.J. ; »' the Consultazioni 
of C. Gennari,'*« and the Theologiae Moralis In- 
stitutiones by Genicot and J. Salsmans, S.J." 
In this connection we may also mention the collec- 
tion of cases in Moral and Pastoral Theology, 
published under the title, The Casuist, by J. F.' 
Wagner, New York (1906-1917; ed. by J A 
McHugh, O.P., and others ) . 

Of these casuistic writings it has been said: 
"A man is not a competent moralist unless he has 
consulted collections of this kind. " »« Note, how- 
ever, that casuistry, though it has been at times 
cultivated to excess and in a one-sided manner, 
has never supplanted scientific Moral Theology. 
The value of casuistry lies entirely within the do- 
main of the penitential discipline. Casuistry has 
its place in theology as well as in jurisprudence 
and medicine. Everything depends on the spirit 
in which it is applied and the dogmatic principles 
upon which it is based.®' 

91 Ratisbon 1862; 8tli ed., Frei- 
burgf i. B. 1 89 1. 

92 Bruxelles 1885. 

93 2 vols., Some 1894-95; 6fli ed., 

94 2 vols., Louvain 1901. 

95 2 vols., Freiburg i. B. 1902-03; 
3rd ed., 1907. 

96 2 vols., 2nd. ed., Rome 1902-04, 

97 2 vols., 6th ed., Bruxelles 1909. 

98 "On n'est jamais «» ntoraliste 
complet, quand on n'a pas consulti 
des recueils de cette sorte." (L'Uni- 
versiti Catholique. XLI [1902], p. 

99 Casuistry, says Abb* Hogan 
(.Clerical Studies, 2nd ed., p. 224 
»q.), "is not confined to moral sd- 



READiNGS.-Thos. Slater, SJ. A Short History of Moral The- 
ology. New York 1909, PP- 44-50.-A Sweens, Theologia Moralis 
Fundamentalist 2nd ed., Haaren 1910, PP. 8 sqq. 

cnce; it is the outgrowth of all legis- 
lation. Wherever there is a code, 
casuistry of a kindred kind grows 
up around it. The numberless de- 
cisions, for instance, of the Congre- 
gation of Rites, are the casuistry of 
liturgy. The very laws of good 
breeding give birth to a casuistry of 
etiquette. Indeed, most of what is 
called law is scarce anything but 
casuistry. Until the period of its 
codification under the Emperor Jus- 
tinian, the Roman law was little 
more than a collection of 'cases,* 
or individual decisions, subsequently 
made into rules. Canoa Law waa 

built exactly in the same fashion; 
that is, on pontifical rulings given 
on single cases. So also the com- 
mon law of England, which, differ- 
ent from the statute law made by 
legislative enactments, rests entirely 
on the rulings of law courts and 
the opinions of eminent lawyers re- 
garding single cases submitted to 
them. Statute law itself soon gath- 
ers around it a vast amount of 
similar cases which practically deter- 
mine its interpretation, as may be 
seen in French, Belgian, or Italian 
jurisprudence, or in the statutory 
jurisprudence of the United States." 



Man may be variously regarded, — in his rela- 
tions to God, to himself, and to his fellowmen; 
and hence Moral Theology has been fitly divided 
into three parts/ For our purpose, however, 
we prefer the more serviceable division sug- 
gested by the laws of logic and practical use: 
vis., into (i) General or Theoretical and (2) 
Special or Practical.^ 

General Moral Theology treats of morality and 
the moral order in three subdivisions : 

I. Morality, its Subject, Norm, and Object; 

II. The Disturbance of the Moral Order by 
Sin ; and 

III. The Restoration of the Moral Order by 

Special Moral Theology shows how the moral 
order is realized in man as an individual and as a 
member of society, and hence discusses ( i ) Man's 
Duties to Himself; (2) Man's Duties to God; 
and (3) Man's Duties to His Fellowmen, Indi- 
vidually and Collectively. 

iTit. II. 13. 

2 Cfr. F. X. Linsenmann, Lehrbuch der Moraltheohgie, pp. 35 sqq. 




For convenience sake we shall divide the whole 
subject-matter of Moral Theology into five vol- 
umes, as follows : 

Volume I 
Morality, Its Subject, Norm, and Object 

Volume II 
Sin and the Means of Grace 

Volume III 
Man's Duties to Himself 

Volume IV 
Man's Duties to God 


Volume V 
Man's Duties to His Fellowmen 

Readings.— Th. Slater, SJ., A Short History of Moral The- 
ology, pp. 44-50.— Aug. Lehmkuhl, S.J., in the Catholic En- 
cyclopedia, Vol. XIV, pp. 607 sqq.— A. Sweens, Theologia Moralis 
Fundamentalis, 2nd ed., Haaren 1910, pp. 13 sq. 




In this first volume of our Handbook we will 
treat of morality in five subdivisions, as follows : 

Chapter I : The Subject of Morality, i. e., Man 
as a Rational Creature Endowed with Free-Will ; 

Chapter II : The Objective Norm of Morality, 
i. e., Law, Divine and Human ; 

Chapter III : The Subjective Norm of Moral- 
ity, i. e., Conscience ; 

Chapter IV : The Subjective-Objective Norm 
of Morality, i. e., Duty ; 

Chapter V : The Object of Morality, i. e., Hu- 
man Acts. 









The subject of morality is man as a rational 
creature, able to know the moral law and con- 
scious of being responsible for his acts and 

Man's chief ethical faculty is free-will, i. e., the 
power to determine his own actions or to choose 
for himself between right and wrong (liberum 
arbitrium, vis electiva). By virtue of this faculty 
man is truly and properly the master of his own 
actions (dominus actuum suorum). 

Only those acts are properly called human 
(actus humani, in opposition to actus hominis) of 
which man is master, i. e,, which he performs 
with consciousness and free-will {actus mo- 

1 Cfr. St. Thomas, Summa Theol., arbitrii est electio. Ex hoc enim li- 
la, qu. 83, art. 3: "Proprium liberi beri arbitrii esse dicimur, quod pos- 





The liberty of the human will, which we take 
as an axiom from philosophy and Dogmatic The- 
ology,2 is not merely a CathoHc dogma,^ but a 
fundamental truth of revealed religion/ and the 
pivot of all morality.^ Without free-will man 
could perform no ethical acts, either good or bad ; 
there would be no moral responsibility, no impu- 
tability, no virtues or vices, neither guilt nor 
merit, and no redemption.® To deny the free- 

sumus unum recipere alio recusato, 
quod est eligere, et ideo naturam It- 
beri arbitrii ex electione considerate 
oportet." — Ibid., la 2ae, qu. i, art. 
1 : "Differt homo ab aliis irraHonali- 
bus creaturis in hoc, quod est suorum 
actuum dominus. Unde illae solae 
actiones vocantur proprie humanae, 
quorum est dominus. Est autem 
homo dominus suorum actuum per 
rationem et voluntatem, unde et li- 
berum arbitrium esse dicitur facultas 
voluntatis et rationis. Illae ergo ac- 
tiones propriae humanae dicuntur, 
quae ex voluntate deliberated pro- 
cedunt. Si quae autem aliae ac- 
tiones homini conveniant, possunt 
did quidem hominis actiones, sed 
non proprie humanae, quum non sint 
hominis, inquantum est homo.** 

2 See Readings at the end of this 

3Cfr. Cone. Trident, Sess. VI, 
can. 5 : "Si quis liberum hominis ar- 
bitrium post Adae peccatum amissum 
et extinctum esse dixerit, aut rem 
esse de solo titulo, immo titulum 
sine re, Hgmentum denique a satana 
invectum in Ecclesiam; anathema 

4Cfr. Gen. IV, 7; Deut. XXX, 
19-20; Ecclus. XV, 14-18; Matth. 
XXIII, 37. — St. Augustine, De Gra- 
tia et Libera Arbitrio, II, n. 2, says: 

"Revelavit nobis per scripturas suas 
sanctas, esse in homine liberum vo- 
luntatis arbitrium. . . . Ipsa divina 
praecepta homini non prodessent, 
nisi haberet liberum voluntatis ar- 
bitrium, quo ea faciens ad promissa 
praemia perveniret." — Ibid., n. 4: 
"Quid illud, quod tam multis locis 
omnia mandata sua custodiri et fieri 
iubet Deusf Quomodo iubet, si non 
est liberum arbitrium f" (Migne, 
P. L., XLIV, 882 sq.)— Cfr. E. Jan- 
vicr. Exposition de la Morale Catho- 
lique. Vol. II, Paris 1904, pp. 51 

5 Cfr. St. Thomas, Comment, in 
Sent., II, dist. 24, qu. 3, art. 2: 
"Voluntas est principium moralium, 
et ideo ibi incipit genus moris, ubi 
Primum dominium voluntatis inveni- 

6 Cfr. St. Augustine, De Libera 
Arbitrio, II, c. i, n. 3: "Et poena 
iniusta esset et praemium, si homo 
voluntatem non haberet Ixberam." — 
Idem, De Vera Religione, c. 14, n. 
27 : "Si non voluntate male facimus, 
nemo obiurgandus est omnino aut 
m9nendus; quibus sublatis Christiana 
lex et disciplina omnis religionis au- 
feratur necesse est. Voluntate ergo 
peccatur. Et quoniam peccari non 
dubium est, ne hoc quidem dubitan- 
dum video, habere animas liberum 




dom of the will, therefore, is to deny Christianity 

Free-will is capable of development and cul- 
tivation, and hence is not the beginning but 
the end of moral endeavor. Man, by ''going 
from virtue to virtue,'' and by "growing unto sal- 
vation," '' is called to attain ''moral liberty,'' to 
develop into "a perfect man unto the measure of 
the age of the fulness of Christ," and thereby to 
reach that blessed freedom which is "the glory of 
the children of God." ® 

Moreover, free-will is not absolute but relative 
and limited in various ways : — metaphysically, by 
man's dependence upon the will of His Creator, 
and ethically, by certain natural, individual, per- 
sonal, and social factors which constitute as many 
intrinsic determinants of liberty. 

Readings. — St. Thomas, Summa TheoL, la, qu. 8 sqq., 13, 83. — 
C Gutberlet, Die Willensfreiheit und ihre Gegner, Fulda 1893, 
pp. 26 sqq. — M. Maher, S.J., Psychology; Empirical and Rational, 
4th ed., London 1900, pp. 394 sqq. — Idem, in the Catholic En- 
cyclopedia, Vol. VI, pp. 259 sqq. — ^Jos. Rickaby, S.J., Political 

voluntatis arbitrium/* — Idem, Enar- 
rat. in Ps., CI, serm. i, n. 11: *^Si 
mihi non dedisses liberum arbitrium 
et per hanc rationem pecoribus me 
non faceres meliorem, non me se- 
queretur damnatio iusta peccantem." 
— Idem, Retract., I, c. 9, n. 4. 
(See Migne, P. L., XXXIl, 1241; 
XXXIV, 133; XXXVII. 1302; 
XXXII, 596). — Cfr. St. Jerome, 
Adv. lovin., II, c. 3: "Liberi arbi- 
trii nos condidit Deus, nee ad vir- 
tutes nee ad vitia necessitate trahi- 

mur. Alioquin ubi necessitas, nee 
corona est." (Cfr. ibid., XXIII, 
286). — St. Thomas, Summa Theol., 
la, qu. 83, art. i: "Homo est 
liberi arbitrii, alioquin frustra essent 
consilia, exhort ationes, praecepta, 
Prohibitiones, praemia et Poenae." 

7Ps. LXXXIII, 8; Phil. Ill, 13; 
I Pet. II, 2. — Cfr. Cone. Trident., 
Sess. VI, c. II. 

82 Cor. Ill, 17; Eph. IV, 13; 
Rom. VIII, 21, 



and Moral Essays, New York 1902, pp. 249 sqq.— Idem, Free Will 
and Four English Philosophers (Hobbes, Locke, Hume, and 
Mill), London 1906.— W. von Rohland, Die Willensfreiheit und 
thre Gegner, Leipsic 1905.— E. Janvier, Exposition de la Morale 
Catholique, Vol. I, Paris I904.-^H. Griinder, S.J., Free Will, the 
Greatest of the Seven World-Riddles, St. Louis 191 1. 

8 ' 




I. Man was created for both time and eternity. 
Here on earth, where he is to prepare himself for 
the Hfe beyond, he is subject to the same laws 
as other terrestrial creatures. However, since he 
holds first rank among, and was made to rule over 
these creatures,^ he is empowered to use them as 
means to achieve his own particular ends.^ 

But man is not created for this world alone. 
He has an immortal soul,^ and is bound so to em- 
ploy his earthly sojourn that he may attain 
eternal beatitude. This is the express will of 
God, which man cannot change, and to that ex- 
tent his freedom is limited by his supernatural 
end. However, this limitation by no means ab- 
rogates free-will, but rather elevates it to a 
higher plane of perfection.^ 

1 Gen. I, 26 sqq.; II, 19 sq.; IX, 
2. — Cfr. St. Augustine, Tract, in 
loa., 33» c. 6; Vergil, Aeneis, VI, 
yzy, Sophocles, Antigone, 332 sqq.; 
A. Jakob, Der Mensch, die Krone der 
irdischen Schopfung, Freiburg 1890. 

2 I Cor. Ill, 22. 

8 Rom. XIV, 7 sq.; Acts XVII, 
28; Job XIV, 5 sqq. 
4 Job I, 21; Prov. XXVII, i; Luke 


XII. 20; I Tim. VI, 7; Jas. IV, 
13 sqq.— St. Polycarp, Ep. ad Phil., 
IV. I (ed. Funk, Vol. I, 2nd ed., p. 
301). — Tertullian, Ad Uxor em, I, c. 
7: "Super haec recogites, moneo, 
neminem non ex Dei voluntate de 
saeculo educi, si ne folium quidem 
ex arbor e sine Dei voluntate dela- 
bitur. Idem qui nos mundo infert, 
idem et educat necesse est," (Ed. 



II. Though he is the lord of the physical uni- 
verse, man is in several respects subject to na- 

I. His moral life is influenced by natural 
causes. Certain physical disturbances are regu- 
larly followed by definite phenomena in the ethical 
domain. Statistics show how greatly men are 
dependent on climate, the weather, seasonal 
changes, and other physical agencies. They are 
compelled to battle with nature for their existence 
and well-being, and this struggle involves a con- 
stant expenditure of physical as well as intellec- 
tual energy. 

2. Man's control of his own actions is limited 
by the life of the body.^ His intellectual knowl- 
edge depends upon the senses. Through the 
organs of the body man receives impressions by 
the aid of which he forms mental images, con- 
cepts or ideas. Moreover, the intellectual and 
moral life of man is influenced by various bodily 
conditions, e. g., the need of food and sleep, the 
sexual instinct, disease. Man has to devote con- 
siderable thought and attention to the care of his 
body and is frequently compelled to combat its 
impulses. The body has been compared to a dead 
weight or a prison impeding the intellect in its 
movements. But this comparison is one-sided. 

Leopold, p. II, 68).— Horace, Carm., scher. Die christliche Moral, Vol. 
I. 4. 13; 28, 15. i^ 5th ed., pp. 174 sqq. 

5 Wisd. IX, 15.— Cfr. J. B. Hir- 



The body is an essential constituent of the com- 
pound, man. It is the organ of the soul, subject 
to its elevating influence. Animated and, as it 
were, spiritualized by the soul, the body becomes 
the source of sentiments conducive to moral im- 
provement.^ The life of the body, moreover, fur- 
nishes the soul with many occasions for practicing 
virtue and acts as a strong counterpoise to pride 
and self-conceit. 

Whereas the Old Testament emphasizes man's 
mastery over the earth, the New insists that the 
body be kept holy because it is a temple of the 
Holy Ghost.'' 

Readings.— A. Ruber, Die Hentmnisse der Willensfreiheit, 2nd 
ed., Miinster 1908.— M. Cronin, The Science of Ethics, Vol. I, 
Dublin 1909, pp. 169 sqq. 

6 St. John Chrysostom, Orat. de 
Angusta Porta, i, says that the body 
is the harp of the soul; the spirit 
moves the strings, and if this is done 
in the right way, the instrument 

gives forth the beautiful melody of 
virtue. (Migne, P. G., LI, 41). 

7 I Cor. I, 19; III, 16; Rom. 
VIII, 11; VI, 16-22. 



Man as an individual is constituted by a ma- 
terial body and a spiritual soul/ and endowed 
with impulses and inclinations which give rise to 
definite temptations, virtues, and vices. The in- 
thrie"^^ ^^^^^"^i^ants of free-will are chiefly 

I. Age.— Age exercises a notable influence on 
the human organism and offers to the will a spe- 
cial field in which to exert itself. Though the 
individual continues the same, and his personal- 
ity IS essentially unaffected by age, the differences 
wrought by the latter are so far-reaching that 
moral science must take account of them. 

Each age has its peculiar ethical tasks and prob- 
lems. In infancy man is almost completely ruled 
by egoism, but the egoism of the child has a re- 
deeming feature in his ready submission to God 
(faith) and parents (filial love, pietas)^ In 

I. Sec Scholastic Psychology and 
Pohle-Preuss, The Author of Nature 
and the Supernatural, 2nd cd., St. 
Louis 19 16, pp. 124 sqq. 

2 I Cor. XIII, 11; Tit. II, i-^; I 
John II, 12-14. 

8Cfr. Matth. XVIII, 1-6; XIX, 


13-iS; Mark X, 13-16; Matth. XI. 
25.— St. Jerome. Ep., 52 (a/. 2), n. 
3 (Mignc. P. L., XXII, 528); W. 
Preyer and K. L. Schafcr, Die Seele 
des Kindes, 8th ed., Lcipsic 1908; R. 
Gaupp, Die Psychologie des Kindes, 
Leipsic 1908. 



early childhood the operation of the will, so far as 
it acts independently, is negative rather than 
positive, characterized by a tendency to obstinacy, 
destructiveness, and cruelty. 

The period of adolescence is marked by a 
struggle between liberty and control. Though 
very receptive at first, the boy soon begins to as- 
sert himself against his elders. He is inclined to 
follow the bent of his sensual nature, to enjoy 
himself, to substitute knowledge for faith, to criti- 
cize and doubt, to engage in airy speculations, to 
waver to and fro between optimism and pessi- 
mism, hope and despair. Over against these 
tendencies are the faculty and inclination to 
labor, to cultivate tender sentiments, and to seek 
noble ideals. Unless these faculties are properly 
trained, the young man is liable to become an 
egoist, a dreamer, and a sentimentalist.* 

Manhood, the age of maturity, is marked by 
full control of the vital energies, by a certain fix- 
ity of both the bodily and the intellectual type, 
and by a preponderance of the active over the re- 
ceptive faculties. The peculiar dangers that be- 
set middle life are pride, vainglory, isolation, 
heartlessness and obtuseness of mind resulting 
from untoward experiences. These perils can be 
avoided by cultivating a strong sense of duty and 

4Cfr. Sophocles, Antigone, 705 {De Arte Poetica); I, 2, 67 sq.; 
sqq.; Horace, Ep., II, 3» 156 sqq. Homer, Ilias, III, 108; IV. 320. 



devoting oneself to the service of God and one's 
fellowmen and to the contemplation of na- 

Thus each succeeding period of life has its 
peculiar ethical stamp; each its special dangers 
and pitfalls; each its own capacity for virtue. 
This truth is exemplified in the lives of the saints, 
who belong to every age, clime, and condition. 

2. Temperament. — By temperament we un- 
derstand the peculiar physical and mental charac- 
ter of an individual. The ancients enumerated 
four types — the sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric (or 
bilious), and melancholic. None of these tem- 
peraments is found unmixed in any one individ- 
ual. Nevertheless, as the temperaments contain 
the germs of definite inclinations and tendencies, 
a study of them is of great importance for 
the formation of character. The temperaments 
undoubtedly influence the will, though by no 
means irresistibly. Besides, every man is more 
or less responsible for the faults peculiar to his 
temperament. Hence arises the duty of acquir- 
ing control over one's temperament and its idio- 
syncrasies. In this matter the Apostles furnish 
splendid models.® 

6 Cfr. Job XII, 12-13; Prov. XVI, 
31; Ecclus. XXV, 6-8; Wisd. IV, 
8-9. — J. Ehring, Des Priesiers Grei- 
senaltety Munster 1896, pp. 3 sqq., 
59 sqq. 

6 Cfr. A. Fouillee, TempSrament et 
Caract^re selon les Individus, les 
Sexes et les Races, Paris 1895; P. 
Michel, Theologiae Moralis Prin- 
cipia. Vol. I, pp. 445 sqq. 

hil^iffltfBii i-^ 



3. Natural Talent. — Talent is a special apti- 
tude or faculty for effective action along certain 
lines. Talents differ and are differently dis- 
tributed. Some men are more talented than 
others. Some are highly gifted in more than one 
respect, while others scarcely show any trace of 
talent at all. The presence or absence of special 
aptitudes necessarily influences man's intellectual 
and moral development, and hence is an ethical 
factor of considerable importance. A man's 
choice of vocation and his social standing are 
largely conditioned by his talents, and experience 
teaches that, as a general rule at least, the moral 
sense develops in proportion to the growth of in- 

However, while talent has a place among the 
individual determinants of free-will, its influence 
is by no means compelling. Whether endowed 
with many talents or few, great or small, man re- 
mains master of his actions. There is no hard 
and fast relation between morality and intellectual 
culture. Intellectually inferior men sometimes 
attain to great moral perfection. Moreover, 
man's ethical development depends upon other 
factors besides natural aptitudes. Even infidel 
savants admit that the low mental and moral 
state of many primitive races is the result, not 
of natural inferiority, but of a process of deprava- 

'•JlU^mommf. I 111 
A9 ^ .r" 



tionJ For some reason or other their natural 
faculties and aptitudes were not properly devel- 
oped. The Catholic Church teaches that every 
normal human being is able to distinguish good 
from evil and to observe the more general or abso- 
lutely necessary precepts of the Gospel. It is this 
conviction that inspires Catholic missionary ac- 
tivity among the heathen. History testifies that 
nations which have attained to some degree of 
culture are more easily converted than those com- 
pletely immersed in savagery. 

Readings. — J. B. Hirscher, Die christliche Moral, Vol. 
I, 5th ed., pp. 251 sqq. ; Vol. II, 5th ed., pp. 268 sqq., 418 sqq. — 
C. Krieg, Die Wissenschaft der Seelenleitung, Vol. I, Freiburg 
1904, pp. 99 sqq., 131 sqq. — A. Huber, Die Hemmnisse der Willens- 
freiheit, 2nd ed., Miinster 1908, pp. 132 sqq. — M. Maher, S.J., 
Psychology, 4th ed., London 1900, p. 393. — T. Pesch, SJ., Instit. 
Psychologicae, § 1078 sq. — O. Briissau, Die Temperamente und 
das christliche Leben, Hamburg 1906. — M. Maher, S.J., in the 
Cath. Encyclopedia, Vol. II, p. 585.— A. C. O'Neil, ibid., XIV, 8. 
— ^A. Waldron, O.P., ibid., XV, 474. — F. Muszinski, Die Tempera- 
mente, Paderborn 1907. — A. Tanquerey, Synopsis Theologiae 
Moralis, Vol. II, Tournai 1905, pp. 65 sqq. 

7 Cfr. Wj Schneider, Die Natur- 
volker, Vol. I, Paderborn 1885, pp. 
3 sqq.; C. Gutberlct, Der Mensch, 

2nd ed., Paderborn 1903, pp. 474 



Man is not merely an individual, he is also a 
social being, and as such his liberty of choice is 
influenced by several other factors in addition to 
those already enumerated. They are : 

I. Sex. — Sex is the sum-total of the peculiari- 
ties of structure and function that distinguish the 
male from the female organism. Its influence is 
not limited to the body, but extends to the intel- 
lect and the will, and consequently affects the 
moral character.^ 

The male sex, generally speaking, possesses 
greater spontaneity, energy, and strength than the 
female. These advantages are counterbalanced 
by certain defects, e, g., lack of delicacy and sen- 
timent. The female sex, on the other hand, en- 
joys greater receptivity, a more delicate sense of 
modesty, a more intense religious sentiment ^ and 
greater patience, but is less strong in resisting 
evil,^ and more prone to fall.'* 

1 See Readings at the end of this 

2 The liturgical phrase, "devotus 
femineus sexus," be it remarked in 
passing, is merely a synonym for 
"virgines Deo devotae," i. e, the 

members of female religious orders. 

3 Cfr. I Pet. Ill, 7, and the hymn 
for Matins in the Commune Vir- 
ginum of the Roman Breviary. 

4 Cfr. R. Stade, Aus der Gefdng- 
nisseelsorge, Leipsic 1901, pp. 56 


I ■! J 1] _ Jil R»»Stf!Ai »•!*:• 



But though sex is a determinant of moraUty, it 
does not neutralize free-will. For in the first 
place the human soul or spirit is non-sexual ^ and 
the same law binds both male and female. ''Una 
est lex de viris et de feminis/' as the School- 
men put it. The assumption of a so-called double 
standard of morals is unchristian.^ Secondly, all 
virtues are attainable by both sexes, and neither 
enjoys any intellectual or moral privilege that is 
denied the other.*^ Third, the sexual relations of 

sqq., 105 sqq.; Idem, Frauentypen 
aus dem Gefdngnisleben (1903), pp. 
40 sqq., 57 sqq., 67 sqq.; H. F. 
Beneke, Gefdngnisstudien, Hamburg 
1903. pp. 13 sq., 76 sqq. 

5 Cfr. St. Ambrose, Expos. Evang, 
sec. Luc, II, n. 28: "Anima, quag 
non habet sexutn " (Migne, P. L., 
XV, 1562); St. Thomas, Summa 
Theol., I a, qu. 93, art. 6, ad 2: 
*' Imago Dei utrique sexui est com- 
munis, quum sit secundum mentem, 
in qua non est distinctio sexuum,** 

6 Cfr. I Cor. VII, 3-4: "Let the 
husband render the debt to his wife, 
and the wife also in like manner to 
the husband. The wife hath not 
power of her own body, but the 
husband; and in like manner the 
husband also hath not power of his 
own body, but the wife." — Cfr. the 
Shepherd of Hermas, Mand. IV, i, 
8: "This is the course of action 
for wife and husband iaijTri if 
rpd^is iwl yvvaiKl Kal dydpl 
Kelrat)." Ibid., 10: "For this 
reason it was enjoined on you to 
live by yourselves, whether husband 
or wife (Sih tovto irpotreTdyri vfiiv 
44>* iavTOis fiiveiVt ctre dvijp etre 
7i;viJ)." (Ed. Funk, Vol. I, 2nd ed., 
p. 476, 8 and 13; Kirsopp Lake, The 

Apostolic Fathers, Vol. II, London 
1913* p. 81). — The Corpus luris 
Canonici quotes the following from 
St. Ambrose (C. 4. C XXXII, qu. 
4): *'Nec viro licet, quod mulieri 
non licet. Eadem a viro, quae ab 
uxore, debetur castimonia." And 
the following from Pope Innocent I 
(C. 23, C. XXXII, qu. 5): "Christi- 
ana religio adulterium in utroque 
sexu pari ratione condemnat/' Cfr. 
St. Augustine, Serm., 9 (al. g6 de 
Temp,), n. 3-4; Serm., 132 (a/, de 
Verbis Dom., 46), n. 2 (Migne, P. 
L., XXXVIII, 77, 735 sq.); Pseudo- 
August., Append. Serm., 288, n. 3 
and 5; Serm., 289 {al. 243 de 
Temp.), n. 3 (i'. L., XXXIX, 2290, 

7 Cfr. Gal. Ill, 28: "There is 
neither Jew nor Greek: there is 
neither bond nor free: there is 
neither male nor female {qvk tvi 
dpaev Kal $ri\v). For you are all 
one in Christ Jesus.*' — Cfr. Matth. 
XXVIII, 10; Acts XVII, 12, 34; 
XVIII, 2. — St. Ambrose, Expos, 
Evang. sec. Lucam, IV, n. 57: 
"Utrumque sexum, Dominus cura^ 
turus advenerat, et prior sanari de- 
buit, qui prior creatus est, nee prae- 
termitti ilia, quae mobilitate magis 




* i 

men and women, unlike those of irrational brutes, 
are not governed by physical necessity, but con- 
trolled by the will,^ which can ennoble and spirit- 
ualize them.® 

2. Education. — Education signifies the pro- 
cess of imparting and drawing out (e-ducere) 
knowledge, skill or discipline of character. As 
society is at present constituted, education is im- 
parted partly in the home and partly at school. 
The early training a child receives at home is of 

animi quam prayltate peccaverat." 
(Migne, P. L., XV, 1629).— St. 
Augustine, Serm., 12 (al. j6 de 
Diversis), n. 12: "Utrumque sexum 
volens in spem renovationis et re- 
Parationis adducere, virilem, in quo 
nasceretur, femineum, per quem 
nasceretur, elegit." — Idem, Serm., 
190 {al. 61 de Diversis), n. 2: 
"Quoniam utrumque sexum, id est, 
masculi et feminae, ipse utique 
creavit, ideo utrumque sexum etiam 
nascendo voluit honorare, quam 
venerat liberare. . . . Dominus veni- 
ens quaererc quod perierat, utrum- 
que voluit honorando commendare, 
quia utrumque perierat. In nullo 
igitur sexu debemus iniuriam facere 
Christo: utrumque ad sperandam sa- 
lutem commendavit nativitas Domini. 
Honor masculini sexus est in came 
Christi, honor feminini est in matre 
Christi. Vicit serpen tis astutiam 
gratia lesu Christi." (Migne, P. L., 
XXXVIII, 106, 1008).— St. Leo the 
Great, Serm., 74 {al. 72), c. 3: 
"Pro hac Ude per universum mundum 
non solum viri, sed etiam feminae, 
nee tantum impubes pueri, sed etiam 
tenerae virgines usque ad effusionem 
sui sanguinis decertarunt." (Migne, 
P. L., LIV, 398).— In the benedic- 
tion of the baptismal font in the 

Roman Missal we read: "Et quos 
aut sexus in corpore aut aetas dis- 
cernit in tempore, omnes in unam 
pariat gratia mater infantiam." 

8 Cfr. Matth. XIX, 11-12: "All 
men take not this word, but they 
to whom it is given. For there 
are eunuchs, who were born so from 
their mother's womb: and there are 
eunuchs, who were made so by men: 
and there are eunuchs, who have 
made themselves eunuchs for the 
kingdom of heaven. He that can 
take, let him take it."— Rom. VIII, 
12-14: "Therefore, brethren, we are 
debtors, not to the flesh, to live ac- 
cording to the flesh. For if you live 
according to the flesh, you shall die: 
but if by the spirit you mortify the 
deeds of the flesh, you shall live." 
— Cfr. I Cor. VII, 25 sqq. 

9 Matth. XXII. 30: "For in the 
resurrection they shall neither 
marry nor be married; but shall be 
as the angels of God in heaven."— 
Cfr. Tertullian, Ad Uxor em, I, c. i 
(ed. P. Leopold, II, 62 sq.) — St. Au- 
gustine, De Civitate Dei, XXII, c. 
17 (Migne, P. L., XLI, 778 sq.); 
Idem, Serm., 243 (al. 6 de Divers.), 
n. 6 (Migne, P. L., XXXVIII, 
1 146). — St. Jerome, Adv. lovin,, I, 
c. 36 (P. L., XXIII, 261). 



supreme importance for his future welfare be- 
cause it leaves upon the mind deep traces of good 
or evil.^^ Whether a man will be virtuous or vic- 
ious, whether his life will redound to the advan- 
tage or detriment of his fellowmen, depends 
largely upon the character of the domestic circle 
in which he spends his youth. No other factor, 
agency, or institution can fully supplant a good 
Christian home. 

In spite of all this, however, home-life does not 
give a necessary predetermination for either good 
or evil. The will remains free, and even the 
most excellent training sometimes fails to bend 
it in the right direction. It happens that good 
parents have bad children,^^ whereas, on the other 
hand, a naturally good child will often preserve its 
innocence in spite of a bad example. 

The school supplements and completes the 
training received at home, and its influence on the 
formation of character is second only to that of 
the family.^^ Its chief defect is that it cannot 
give to each child the individual care required, 
and hence the influence of the school upon the 

lOCfr. Plato, Politia, II, 17: 
MaXcara h^ r6r€ irXdrrerai ical 
€v5v€Tat rvTTost Cy &y rts ^ovXrjTai 
Ivor iLJivaa Sal CKaaTuj' — Cfr. Horace, 
Carm., IV, 4, 29, 32 sqq.: 
'^Fortes creantur fortibus et bo- 
nis; ... 
Doctrina sed vim promovet insitam 

Rectique cuUus Pectora roborant: 
Utrumque defecere mores, 
Dedecorant bene nata culpae." 

11 " Filii heroum nequam." 

12 Cfr, the Greek proverb: 

IIoXXo2 fia&vral Kpclcrtroves riav 
dtda<ric<iXci;i'— Many pupils are bet* 
ter than their masters. 





moral character is less pronounced than that of 
the home. 

3. Society. — Human society is the sum-total 
of living men, considered as an aggregate, of 
v^hich each individual is a member. Every man 
is more or less a child of his time, nation, and 
country, — not merely in a physical sense, i. e., by 
the external characteristics due to soil, climate 
and national type ; but also intellectually and ethi- 
cally, in regard to his views of right and wrong, 
his likes and dislikes, etc.^^ 

The relation existing between man's free acts 
and the social environment in which he lives 
{milieu) has been carefully investigated in re- 
cent times. It was found that certain crimes and 
misdemeanors recur more or less regularly under 
certain conditions. This observation led Lom- 
broso and others to conclude that the law of physi- 
cal causation applies to ethics and that human 
conduct is governed by necessity.** With this 
conclusion we cannot agree, for three reasons : 

13 Cfr. Ps. XVII, 26-271 **With 
the holy, thou wilt be holy; and 
with the innocent man thou wilt be 
innocent; and with the elect thou 
wilt be elect: and with the perverse 
thou wilt be perverted." — Pope 
Hadrian VI compose4 this epi- 
taph for his tombstone: "Proh do- 
lor, quantum refert, in quae tern- 
pora vel optimi cuiusque virtus inci- 

14 Cesare Lombroso*s writings in 
particular, some of which have been 

translated into English, have exer- 
cised a malign influence on contem- 
porary thought. Cfr. Krauss, Der 
Kampf gegen die Verbrechensur- 
sachen, pp. 17 sqq.; R. Frank, Die 
Lehre Lombrosos, Tubingen 1908.— 
Enrico Ferri, another popular au* 
thor, contends that crime is "a bio- 
logico-social abnormality," which has 
"its origin in an anti-social biological 
constitution, cosmic or physical," and 
is "the resultant of anthropological, 
cosmic, and social factors." (Cfr. 





a) That men think, feel, calculate, and act 
alike under similar conditions is no proof that 
they lack liberty of choice. 

b) At all times there have been many who, 
under identically the same circumstances, have 
attained a degree of moral perfection that raised 
them far above their fellows. 

c) Statistics are limited to external acts, 
whereas the individual inclinations and dispo- 
sitions as well as the intentions and motives 
from which individual actions spring, and which 
therefore constitute the true essence of moral- 
ity, elude observation and inquiry. All that 
science can demonstrate is to what extent men 
observe the law or, rather, in what degree they 
are given to immoral practices. Even those 
acts which are common to a large number of 
men and can therefore be statistically tabu- 
lated, remain rational and ethically free — actus 
humani — regardless of social and economic en- 

The science of what is called moral (or, more correctly, 
criminal) statistics devotes its attention entirely to vice 
and crime. Virtue, as a rule, makes no noise. An an- 
cient Chinese proverb says: "If you do a good deed, 
your neighbor will never find it out ; but if you commit a 

Criminal Sociology by Enrico Ferri, 
tr. by J. I. Kelly, Boston 1917). 
Ferri too often makes words serve 

in place of ideas. Put to the logical 
test, his system fails completely. 

isCfr. C. Gutberlet, Willensjfrei- 
heitf pp. 40 sqq. 



crime, everybody for a hundred miles around will talk 
about it." To regard only the evil that men do will never 
lead to an adequate knowledge of human nature. 

Readings. — Cath. Encyclopedia, Vol. I, p. 163; XV, 687. — 
A. Rosier, C.SS.R., Die Frauenfrage vom Standpunkt der Natur, 
der Geschichte und der Oifenbarung, 2nd ed., Freiburg 1907, pp. 
18 sqq., 26 sqq.— H. Marion, Psychologie de la Femme, Paris 
1900.— Ch. Turgeon, Le Feminisme Frangais, Vol. II, Paris 1902, 
pp. 152 sqq.— C. Krieg, Die Wissenschaft der Seelenleitung, Vol. 

I, pp. 138 sqq.— A. Tanquerey, Synopsis Theologiae Moralis, Vol. 

II, Tournai 1905, pp. 69 sqq. 

L. Desers, L'Education^ Morale et ses Conditions, Paris 1909.— 
W. Toischer, Die Macht der Schule, Prague 1897.--F. W. Foerster, 
Schule und Charakter, 7th ed., Zurich 1909. 



Not all human actions are ethically free. 
There are various degrees of self-determination 
corresponding to the measure of knowledge with 
which a man acts.^ 

I. Spontaneous or Reflex Actions. — A 
spontaneous or reflex action is one produced by 
the will without due knowledge. A spontane- 
ous act, as such, is not ethical. "Nihil volitum 
nisi praecognifum/' To the category of spon- 
taneous actions belong the primary perceptions 
of the external and internal senses, the first stir- 
rings of the imagination and the memory, as well 
as all acts performed in the state of sleep or dis- 
ease, under external compulsion or in ignorance. 

2. Voluntary and Free Acts. — An act is 

1 Cfr. St. Thomas, Summa Theol., 
la, qu. 59, art. 3: "Quaedam sunt 
quae non agunt ex aliquo arbitrio, 
sed quasi ab aliis acta et mota, sicut 
sagitta a sagittante movetur ad finem, 
Quaedam vera •agunt quodam arbi- 
trio, sed non libero, sicut animalia 
irrationalia. Oris enim fugit lupum 
€x quodam iudicio, quo existimat eum 

sibi noxium; sed hoc iudicium non 
est ipsi liberum, sed a natura indv- 
turn, Sed solum id quod habet in- 
tellectum, potest agere iudicio libero, 
inquantum cognoscit universalem ra- 
tionem boni, ex qua potest iudtcare 
hoc vel illud esse bonum. Unde 
ubicunque est intellectus, est liberum 




voluntary and free (voluntarium et liberum) if 
it is performed by the will with knowledge and de- 

For an act to be voluntary and free, therefore, 
two conditions must cooperate: 

a) The act itself must be produced by an in- 
ternal principle, i. e., the will ; 

b) The person acting must have some knowl- 
edge of the end towards which his act tends. 

Acts performed under external compulsion, 
therefore, or without knowledge of their purpose, 
cannot be called free. 

In order that an act be entirely free, it must, 
moreover, be perceived by the agent in all its 
parts and circumstances. When even one cir- 
cumstance is unknown to the agent, the act is not 
free with regard to this circumstance. For in- 
stance, if a man appropriates to himself an object, 
not knowing that it belongs to another, he is not a 
thief ; or if he knowingly possesses himself of the 
property of another without being aware of the 
fact that it is devoted to a sacred purpose, he is 
not guilty of sacrilege. 

There are different degrees of voluntariness, according 
to the measure of reflection accompanying an act. 

(i) An act is positively voluntary {voluntarium posi- 
tivum) if it IS directly intended; negatively (voluntarium 

2 "Actus procedens a principio in- tione iinis/' — St. Thomas, Summa 
trinseco sen a voluntate cum cogni- Theol., la aae, qu. 6, art. i. 



negativum) if it involves an inexcusable or culpable 

(2) An act is perfectly voluntary {voluntarium per- 

fectum) if it proceeds from the will with full knowledge 

and deliberation ; it is imperfectly voluntary (voluntarium 

tmperfectum) if the knowledge and deliberation are not 

(3) An act is immediately voluntary {voluntarium eli- 
citum) if it is produced directly by the will ; it is mediately 
voluntary (voluntarium imperatum) if it is dictated by 
the will and performed by some other faculty of mind or 

(4) An act is expressly voluntary {voluntarium ex- 
pressum) if the consent of the will is manifested by word 
or sign; it is tacitly voluntary {voluntarium tacitum) if 
the consent of the will can be deduced from some act 
or omission. Thus a superior wills expressly what his 
spoken or written command enjoins ; he wills tacitly what 
he permits, though he be able and in duty bound to pre- 
vent it. 

(5) Something is said to be willed directly or in it- 
self {voluntarium directum s. in se) when it is in and by 
itself the object of the will, e. 9., a premeditated crime. It 
is willed indirectly or in the cause {voluntarium indirec- 
tum s. in causa) when it is merely the effect of something 
else which is directly willed. For anything to be willed in 
the cause, therefore, the effects of that cause must be fore- 
seen but not intended, for if they were intended, the action 
would be willed in itself or directly. A drunkard, e. g , 
directly wills the gratification of his appetite for strong 
drink; indirectly he also wills to ruin his health and 

S Cfr. St Thomas, Summa Theol., 
la 2ae, qu. 71, art. 5, ad 2: "Ipsum 
non velle potest diet voluntarium. 

inquantum in potestaie hominis est 
velle et non velle" 



squander his money, because he foresees these inevitable 
effects in the cause. 

Readings. — St. Thomas, Summa Theol, la 2ae, qu. 6. — V. Frins, 
S.J., De Actibus Humanis, Vol. I, Freiburg 1897, pp. 85 sqq. — M. 
Cronin, The Science of Ethics, Vol. I, pp. 34 sqq.— Th. Slater, 
S.J., A Manual of Moral Theology, Vol. I, pp. 22 sq.— Sabetti- 
Barrett, S.J., Compendium Theologiae Moralis, 22nd ed., New 
York 1915, pp. II sqq. — A. Sweens, Theologia Moralis Fundamen- 
talis, 2nd ed., Haaren 1910, pp. 34 sqq. 

1 1 1 « 

> 1 






I. Instinct. — Instinct, which is the first and 
lowest stage of the appetitive faculty, may be de- 
fined as *'an impulse of the sensitive appetite to- 
wards certain acts and objects, the suitableness of 
which transcends the range of knowledge of the 
agent that performs them." ^ All instinctive ac- 
tions are performed under internal compulsion. 
The primary form to which all instincts may be 
reduced, is an impulse towards happiness. This 
impulse is irresistible, i. e., the will cannot decide 
against it because no man has it in his power not 
to will to be happy. The case is diflferent with 
the secondary forms that proceed from this pri- 
mary form of instinct — the impulse to self-pres- 
ervation, the sexual instinct, and others. These 
are subject to the will. Intimately connected 
with the instinct of self-preservation are modesty, 
anger, and fear. 

(a) Modesty is directed to the preservation of per- 
sonal integrity. This instinct reacts with particular vigor 

1 Cfr. ,Z Wa^ajin, S.y., Moaern 1910; Idem, Instinct and Intelli- 
Biology and the Tneary of Evolution gence in tha Animal Kingdom, ^^ 
(tr. by A. M. Bushanan), Lcndon Louis 1903^ 


to attacks against chastity and truth. Modesty furnishes 
an invaluable protection against sin, and for this rea- 
son it should be assiduously cultivated, especially since it 
is weak and tender and can easily be destroyed. Under 
conscientious cultivation modesty ceases to be a mere in- 
stinct and becomes a virtue.^ 

(b) Anger is defined as a violent desire to wreak ven- 
geance on persons or objects that oppose or thwart the 
Ego in the prosecution of its ends. This instinct tends to 
destroy that which opposes it. Anger is a dangerous in- 
stinct because it makes deliberation difficult. For the 
same reason, of course, it diminishes accountability and 
inspires foolish and injurious actions. 

Anger is essentially a craving for vengeance on account 
of wrong done. Though there is a just and holy anger, 
the stirrings of this passion in the weakened state in which 
humanity exists since the Fall, mostly spring from sinful 
egotism. Anger, in the words of Father Rickaby, *'is then 
only a safe course to enter on, when it proceeds not upon 
personal but upon public grounds ; and even by this maxim 
many deceive themselves.'* ^ 

(c) FtdiT {metus) will be treated later.* 

2. Affections and Passions. — When the in- 
tellect proposes some good to the w^ill, or when 
sensual perception presents something as desira- 
ble to the lov^er appetites, there ensues a tendency 
tov^ards that object. This tendency is either 

2 Cfr. St. Ambrose, De OMc, I, 
c. 18, n. 69: "Est verecundia pudi- 
citiae comes, cuius societate casti- 
tas ipsa tutior est. Bonus enim re- 
gendae castitatis pudor est comes, qui 
si se praetendat ad ea quae prima 
pericula sunt, pudicitiam temerari 

non sinat/' (Migne, P. L., XVI, 
44).— Cfr. W. Schneider, Die Natur- 
volker, Vol. II, pp. 426 sqq. 

3 Jos. Rickaby, S.J., Moral Phi- 
losophy, p. 64. — Cfr. Mark III, 5; 
Matth. XXI, 12; John II, 15-17. 

^ Infra, p. 116. 






spiritual or sensual, according to the nature of 
the object. The stirrings of the rational appetite 
are called affections ; those of the sensual appe- 
tite, passions (passtones). 

The passions, in so far as they are excited by 
external objects, are involuntary in their origin 
because independent of free-will. Consequently 
man is not accountable for them, unless he 
has willed them in the cause (voluntartum in 

The affections, on the other hand, whether pure 
or mixed, are either wholly or partially subject 
to the will, according as they proceed from it 
either entirely or in part.^ 

There is a difference between the affections and pas- 
sions on the one hand, and instinct on the other. The 
former may proceed mediately from the will and presup- 
pose a clear knowledge of their object, whereas the latter 
springs from sentiment and cannot be elicited by an act of 
the will. However this difference is not always easy to 

An affection is distinguished from a free act of the will 
in that, when a man is under the influence of an affec- 
tion, willing immediately follows knowledge, and no choice 
takes place. For this reason the affections, though they 

5 Cfr. St Augustine, De Civitate 
Dei XIV, c. 6: "Interest, qualis 
sit voluntas hominis; quia si perversa 
est, perversos habebit hos motus; si 
autem recta est^ non solum inculpa- 
biles, verum etiam laudabiles erunt. 
Voluntas est quippe in omnibus Iscil. 
motibus'i, immo omnes nihil aliud 

quam voluntates sunt Nam quid est 
cupidUas et laetitia nisi voluntas in 
eorum eonsensionem, quae volumusf 
Et quid est metus atque tristitia nisi 
voluntas in dissensionem ab his, quae 
nolumusr (Migne, P. L., XLI, 


may be voluntary in the highest degree, are not free, un- 
less indeed the knowledge from which they spring was 
caused by the will, or if they are made the object of 
reflection. But the will is never accountable for an af- 
fection unless it has cooperated in its production, or con- 
sented to it after due deliberation, i. e., from the moment 
when it began to participate in what was originally no 
more than a physical impulse. 

(a) A motus primo primus is an impulse which, result- 
ing immediately from an involuntary act of knowledge, 
precedes all rational deliberation and therefore is neither 
free nor imputable. 

(b) A motus secundo primus is an impulse which 
causes the desired objlftct to enter more or less into 
the consciousness of the subject, thus affording a pos- 
sibility of deliberation and free choice. Such acts are 
not entirely compulsory ; nor, on the other hand, are they 
entirely free. It follows that while they may be to some 
extent imputable, they never constitute more than a venial 

(c) If the knowledge that gives birth to an impulse 
is caused by the will, or if the will positively and de- 
liberately acquiesces in the impulse and makes its own 
the object towards which it tends, we have a motus 
secundus. This happens, e. g., when the will, instead 
of rejecting sinful thoughts, deliberately entertains and 
nourishes them. Hence the Scholastic maxim, "Motus 
sentire est naturale, motibus consentire est criminate." ® 

e Cfr. St. Augustine, In Ep. ad 
Rom., prop. 13-18: "Non in ipso 
desiderio pravo, sed in nostra con- 
sensione peccamus." (Migne, P. L., 
XXXV, 2066). — Idem, Enarrat. in 
Ps., CXVIII, s. 3» n. i: "Quid 

operatur peccatum nolentibus nobis 
nisi sola illicita desideria? Quibus 
si voluntatis non adhibeatur assen- 
sus, movetur quidem nonnullus af- 
fectus, sed nullus ei relaxatur effec- 
tus/' (P. L., X^XVII, 1S07). 



The motus secundus, being a voluntary and deliberate act 
of the will, is fully imputable and, when the matter at 
stake is sinful and important, involves a mortal offence. 

It needs no argument to show how strongly 
man's actions are influenced by the affections and 
the passions. As affectus antecedentes they pre- 
cede, incite, and elicit the decision of the will, 
and are frequently the very requisites of free- 
will actions, capable of becoming concurrent 
causes in their production, thus entering as im- 
portant factors into man's accountability for his 
deeds. Not every good impulse or emotion — en- 
thusiasm, love, hatred, anger — is supernaturally 
meritorious. Neither is every evil impulse sin- 
ful. Many of these stirrings are purely natural 
and involve no deliberate choice. 

On the other hand, the will can enlist the affec- 
tions and the passions in its service. When thus 
enlisted, they are called affectus suhsequentes, 
and intensify the will, increase its power, and 
strengthen its every act, whether good or bad. 
"Rightly ordered, the affections are virtues," 
says a Scholastic axiom; ''when lacking proper 
direction, they disturb the soul." ^ 

7 "Affectiones ordinatae virtutes 
sunt, inordinatae perturbationes/* — 
Cfr. St. Augustine, Serm., 344 (a/. 
31), n. i: "Amores duo in hoc vita 
secum in omni tentatione luctantur, 
amor saeculi et amor Dei; et horum 
duorum qui vicerit, illuc amantem 
tamquam pondere trahit. Non enim 

pennis out pedihus, sed affectibus ve- 
nimus ad Deum. Et rursum non 
corporeis nodis et vinculis, sed con- 
trariis affectibus terrae inhaeremus." 
(Migne, P, L., XXXIX, 1512). — 
Idem, De Civitate Dei, XIV. c. 9, 
n. I : "luxta scriptures sacras sa- 
namque doctrinam cives sanctae civi- 




The affections and the passions, therefore, are 
not in themselves evil or unworthy of human na- 
ture. The Church has condemned the Stoic as- 
sertion that a perfect man should be totally 
devoid of passions.^ Her ideal is not stolid apa- 
thy but rational control of the affections and 
passions.^ To subject them to right reason is 
an imperative duty, not only in regard to single 
acts, but also in regard to the conditions created 
by the continued activity of these impulses. 
Even the most vicious habit, no matter how 
strongly developed, can be overcome with the 
aid of divine grace. 

tatis Dei in huius vitae peregrina- 
tione secundum Deum viventes me- 
tuunt cupiuntque, dolent gaudentque. 
Et quia rectus est amor eorum, istas 
omnes affectiones rectas habent." — 
L. c, n. 3: "Hi motus, hi affectus 
de amore boni et de sancta caritate 
venientes, si vitia vocanda sunt, sina- 
mus, ut ea quae vere vitia sunt, vir- 
tutes vocentur. Sed quum rectam 
rationem sequantur istae affectiones, 
quando ubi oportet adhibentur, quis 
eas tunc morbos seu vitiosas passv- 
ones audeat dicer eT Quamobrem 
etiam ipse Dominus in forma servi 
agere vitam dignatus humanam, sed 
nullum habens omnino peccatum ad- 
hibuit eas, ubi adhibendas esse iudi- 
cavit. Neque enim in quo verum 
erat hominis corpus et verus hominis 
animus, falsus erat humanus af- 
fectus.'* (P. L., XLI, 413, 414 sq.). 
— Cfr. St. Jerome, In Ezech., I, c. 
I, n. 12 (P. L., XXV, 23); Ep., 
130, n. 13: "Affectus et perturba- 
tiones, quamdiu in tabernaculo cor- 
poris huius habitamus et fragili 

came circumdamur, moderari et re- 
gere possumus, amputare non possu- 
mus." (P. L., XXII, 1 1 18).— St. 
Bernard, De Gratia et Lib, Arbitr., 
c. 6, n. 17: "Simplices affectiones 
insunt naturaliter nobis, tamquam 
ex nobis, additamenta ex gratia. 
Nee aliud profecto est, nisi quod 
gratia ordinat, quas donavit crea- 
tio, ut nihtl aliud sint virtutes 
nisi ordinatae affectiones.** (P. L. 
CLXXXII, loio). 

8 Cfr. Prop. Damn. Mich, de Mo- 
linos, prop. I, 55 (Denzinger-Bann- 
wart, n. 1221, 1275). 

Cfr. St. Jerome, In Epist. ad 
Gal., Ill, c. 6: "Ira ipsa et libido 
et iniuria, quae desiderat ultionem, 
si me refrenem, si propter Deum ta- 
ceam, si per singulos commotionis 
aculeos et incentiva vitiorum Dei 
desuper me xndentis recorder, fiunt 
mihi occasio triumphorum/' (Migne, 
P. L.. XXVI, 43-' sq.).— W. Schnei- 
der, Das anderc Leben, loth ed., 
Paderborn 1909, pp. 17 sqq. 



"Passion is the natural and in a certain degree the insep- 
arable adjunct of strong volition. To check one is to 
check the other. Not only is the passion repressed by 
repressing the volition, but the repression of the passion is 
also the repression of the volition. A man then who did 
his best to repress all movements of passion indiscrim- 
inately, would lay fetters on his will, lamentable and cruel 
and impolitic fetters, where his will was bent on any object 
good and honorable and well-judged.'' 

"The effort made as the Stoics direct, would mean no 
yielding to excitement, no poetry, no high-strung devotion, 
no rapture, no ecstasy, no ardor of love, no earnest rhet- 
oric spoken or listened to, no mourning, no rejoicing other 
than the most conventional, to the persistent smothering 
of whatever is natural and really felt, no tear of pity freely 
let flow, no touch of noble anger responded to, no scudding 
before the breeze of indignation, — all this, that reason 
may keep on the even tenor of its way undisturbed.'* ^® 

" A man who in the heat of passion commits a crime 
that was far from his thoughts only a minute before, is 
guiltless in comparison with him who for months and 
years has revolved the same crime in his brain, without 
ever proceeding to action. An envious man may deserve 
a severer punishment than a thief, and one who harbors 
hatred and plans vengeance may be worse than a mur- 
derer." ^^ 

3. Free-Will. — Freedom of the will (Hbertas 
arbitrii sen naturae) is distinguished by two es- 
sential notes: self-determination and the power 
of choosing between different actions. 

10 Jos. Rickaby, Moral Philosophy, pp. 45 sq. 
IX Op, cit., p. 46. 




a) The rational soul has within itself the 
tendency or inclination to proceed from potency 
to action (a potentia ad actum). In so far as 
the intellect operates consciously through the 
will, all its acts are ethical. Hence, while there 
may be indifferent acts in genere, or in the ab- 
stract, no act is indifferent in individuo. That 
is to say, every individual concrete act is either 
good or bad. 

b) To say that man has the power of choos- 
ing between two or more actions (liberum ar- 
bitrium) is not the same as to assert, as the an- 
cient Pelagians did, that man can choose good or 
evil with equal facility (equilibrism). It is in 
the power of choosing freely that the will demon- 
strates its superiority over the sensitive appetite. 
Whereas the latter acts under intrinsic compul- 
sion, the will can determine itself freely, i. e., 
choose either good or bad. 

According to the objects between which choice 
is made, the freedom of the will is called Hbertas 
contradictionis s. exercitii, Hbertas specific ationis 
or Hbertas contrarietatis. 

By Hbertas contradictionis s, exercitii is meant 
active indifference to act or not to act. 

Libertas speciiicationis may be defined as the 
power of choosing between specifically different 
acts of the same kind, for instance, love and de- 





Libertas contrarietatis is the faculty of choos- 
ing between contraries, e. g., love and hate, good 
and evil. 

The first of these species of freedom (libertas 
contradictionis) is included in the other two. 

Moral indifference is not a prerogative but 
rather a defect of the will/^ 

4. Christian or Supernatural Moral 
Freedom. — The natural freedom of choice with 
which the human will is endowed, furnishes the 
foundation and groundwork of that libertas vir- 
tutis sen gratiae which Sacred Scripture calls the 
freedom of the children of God.^^ It is to this 
prerogative that Christ refers when He says: 
"If you continue in my word, you shall be my 
disciples indeed, and you shall know the truth, 
and the truth shall make you free. ... If there- 
fore the Son shall make you free, you shall be 
free indeed." ^^ 

This liberty of grace, which is the work of the 
Holy Ghost,^^ involves a continued cooperation 
of the will and an incessant struggle against sin 
and concupiscence. It manifests itself in that 
constant and unswerving tendency towards moral 
goodness ^^ which is the special mark of the loyal 

i2Cfr. I Cor. VII, 37— St. 
Thomas, Summa Theol., la aae, qu. 
10, art 4. — V. Frins, S.J., De Act 
Human., Vol. I, pp. 112 sqq. 

if 1 Cor. XV, 28; 2 Cor. Ill, 17; 
Gal. V. 13. 

14 John VIII, 31-32, 36. 

15 2 Cor. Ill, 17. 

16 John VIII, 34-36; Rom. VI, 
16-23; I Cor. VII, 22— Cfr. St. 
Augustine, In Ps., XCIX, n. 7 : 
*'Servum te caritas faciat, quia li- 



Catholic.'^ Its highest stage is moral inability 
to sin {non posse peccare), which attains its 
climax in the world beyond, where it is trans- 
formed into that freedom of glory which is the 
inheritance of the Blessed (libertas gloriae filio- 
rum Dei)}^ 

To be able to sin is not a proof of liberty, but a moral 
defect. This power may at most be called a sign of lib- 
erty in the sense in which disease is sometimes called a 
sign of life. In the final state of perfection the will is no 
longer able to choose evil in preference to good. To 
choose evil is always an abuse of liberty, the sole purpose 
of which is moral goodness.^^ ''Deo servire regnare est," 
to serve God is to rule. 

Inability to sin {non posse peccare) is what constitutes 
true liberty. "Let no one believe," says St. Bernard of 
Clairvaux, "that liberty is called liberum arbitrium be- 
cause the will is moved with equal facility between 
good and evil . . . ; if this were the case, it would 
be impossible to ascribe liberty to God and the holy 
angels, who are so good that they cannot be wicked, or to 
the fallen angels, who are so bad that they can no longer 
be good. Nay, we ourselves [in that hypothesis] should 
lose our liberty after the Resurrection [of the flesh], 

berum te Veritas fecit/* (Migne, 
P. L., XXXVII, 1275). 

IT John VIII, 32, 36; 2 Cor. Ill, 


18 Rom. VIII, 21.— Cfr. St. Au- 
gustine, De Corr. et Grat., XI, n. 
32: "Quid exit liberius libera arbi- 
trio, quando non poterit servire pec- 
cato, quae futura erat et homini, 
sicut facta est angelis Sanctis, merces 
tnmtt."— Idem, ibid., XII, n. 33: 
** Prima libertas voluntatis erat, posse 

non peccare, novissima erit multo 
maior, non posse peccare; prima im- 
mortalitatis erat, posse non mori, 
novissima erit multo maior, non posse 
mori; prima erat perseverantiae po- 
testas, bonum posse non deserere, no- 
vissima erit felicitas perseverantiae, 
bonum non posse deserere.** 
(Migne, P. L., XLIV. 936). 

19 Cfr. J. Uhlmann, Die Pers'dn- 
lichkeit Gottes, p. 118; St. Thomas, 
De Veritate, qu. 22, art. 6. 




when we shall be inseparably united either with the good 
or with the wicked/' ^® 

Libertas summa est tua, Christe, facessere iussa. 
Nemo est ingenuus, nisi qui tibi servit, lesu. 
Nemo est, qui regnet, famulus nisi Mus lesu, 

(The highest freedom, O Lord Jesus, is to obey Thy com- 
mands; no man is free unless he serves Thee; no man 
can rule unless he is Thy faithful servant). ^^ 

Readings.— St. Thomas, Summa Theol, la 2ae, qu. 22-48. 
—Idem, De Veritate, qu, 26, art. i-io.— J. Gardair, Les Passions 
et la Volontc, Paris 1892.— E. Janvier, Exposition de la Morale 
CathoUque, Vol. III.— Jos. Rickaby, S.J., Moral Philosophy, pp. 
41 sqq.— M. Maher, S.J., Psychology, pp. 214 sqq.— M. Cronin, 
The Science of Ethics, pp. 43 sqq.— A. Tanquerey, S.S., Synopsis 
Theologize Moralis, Vol. II, Toiirnai 1905, PP. 38 sqq., 53 sqq.— 
Jos. Rickaby, S.J., Political and Moral Essays, New York 1902, 
pp. 249-265. 

20 St. Bernard of Clairvaux, De 
Gratia et Lib. Arhitr., X, n. 35 
(Migne, P. L., CLXII, 1019); St. 
Anselm, De Lib. Arbitr., c. i: 
"Libertatem arbitrii non puto esse 
potentiam peccandi et non peccandi. 
Quippe si haec eius esset definitio, 
nee Deus nee angeli, qui peccare ne- 
queunt, liberum haberent arbitrium. 

quod nefas est dicere." (P. L., 

CLVIII. 489). 

21 Alexander Hegius. On this 
famous pedagogue of the Humanist 
school (+ 1498) see Buchberger's 
Kirchliches Handlexikon, Vol. I, col. 
1874 sq. — A similar sentiment is ex- 
pressed by Seneca, De Vita Beata, 
XV, 7: "Deo parere libertas est.** 






To be free, an action must proceed ( i ) from 
internal inclination, without constraint ; (2) from 
a full knowledge of the end intended, and (3) 
from indifference of the will.^ 

An action that is performed without constraint 
is called spontaneous. Obstacles to spontaneity 


I. Violence.— By violence (vis, violentia, 

coactio) is meant the state of being driven by 
some external force which the agent is unable to 
resist. Since the wiU itself cannot be sub- 
jected to violence, its interior acts (actus eliciti s, 
interior es) are never forced. The only acts 
that can be affected by force are those mediate 
acts known as imperati.'' Acts performed under 

1 Cfr. St. Thomas, Summa Theol, 
la 2ae, qu. 6, art. 5 sqq., qu. 76 sq. 

2 Cfr. St. Thomas, Summa Theol., 
la 2ae, qu. 6, art. 4: "Duplex est 
actus voluntatis: unus quidem qui est 
eius immediate, velut ab ipsa elicitus, 
sail, velle, alius autem est actus vo- 
luntatis a voluntate imperatus et me- 
diante alia potentid, exercitus, ut am- 
bulare et loqui; qui a voluntate im- 
perantur, exercentur autem mediant e 

potentid. motiva. Quantum igitur 
ad actus a voluntate imperatos, vo- 
luntas violentiam pati potest, inquan- 
turn per violentiam exteriora membra 
impediri possunt, ne imperium vo- 
luntatis exequantur. Sed quantum 
ad ipsum proprium actum voluntatis, 
non potest ei violentia inferri. Et 
huius est ratio, quia actus voluntatis 
nihil est aliud quam inclinatio quae- 
dam procedens ab interiori principio 




absolute compulsion, the subject resisting in- 
ternally, are involuntary (actus simpliciter in- 
voluntarii). When the compulsion is not abso- 
lute, the acts performed under it are more or less 
voluntary, according to the degree of resistance 

2. Ignorance. — ^When a man has no knowl- 
edge of the end intended, he is said to be igno- 
rant. Moral ignorance may therefore be defined 
as a lack of that knowledge which a person ought 

cognoscente, sicut appetitus natu- 
talis est quaedam inclinatio ah in- 
teriori principio et [sed] sine cogni- 
tione. Quod autem est coactum vel 
violentum, est ab exteriori principio. 
Unde contra rationem ipsius actus 
voluntatis est, quod sit coactus vel 
violentus, sicut etiam est contra ra- 
tionem naturalis inclinationis vel mo- 
tus lapidis, quod feratur sursum. 
Potest enim lapis per violentiam ferri 
sursum, sed quod iste motus violen- 
tus sit ex eius naturali inclinatione, 
esse non potest. Similiter etiam pot- 
est homo per violentiam trahi, sed 
quod hoc sit ex eius voluntate, re- 
pugnat rationi violentiae." — Cfr. St. 
Anselm, De Lib. Arbitr., c. 5: 
*'VeUe non potest invitus, quia velle 
non potest nolens velle." (Migne» 
P. L., CLVIII, 496). God can ex 
nolente facere volentem per gratiam 
eMcacem (St. Alphonsus, De Act, 
Human., n. 19), and, by His omnip- 
otence, cause the human will to act 
or abstain from acting; but He can- 
not properly speaking compel it, be- 
cause He cannot cause it to will and 
not to will the same thing at one and 
the same time. — Cfr. St. Thomas, 
Summa TheoL, la 2ae, qu. xo, ari. 4: 


Ad providentiam divinam non per- 
tinet naturam rerum corrumpere, sed 
icon]servare," — Idem, De Veritate, 
qu. 22, art. 8: "Deus potest immu- 
tare voluntatem de necessitate, non 
tamen potest eam cogere." 

8 Cfr. St. Thomas, Summa Theol., 
la 2ae, qu. 6, art. 5. — That internal 
compulsion inecessitas) destroys 
the freedom of the will has been in- 
directly defined by the Church. Cfr, 
Prop. Damnat. Baii, prop. 46: 
**Ad rationem et deHnitionem peccati 
non pertinet voluntarium." Prop. 
67: "Homo peccat, etiam damna- 
biliter, in eo, quod necessario facit." 
— Prop. Damnat. lansenii, prop. 3: 
"Ad merendum et demerendum in 
Statu naturae lapsae non requiritur in 
homine libertas a necessitate, sed 
suMcit libertas a coactione." — Prop. 
Damnat. ab Alexandro' VIII. (7 Dec, 
1690), prop, z: "In statu naturae 
lapsae ad peccatum formale et de- 
meritum suMcit ilia libertas, qua 
voluntarium ac liberum fuit in causa 
sua, peccato originali et voluntate 
Adami peccantis." (Denzinger- 
Bannwart, n. 1046, 1067, 1094, 1291). 
— Cfr. Cone, Trident., Sesa. VI, 
can. 4. 






to have in order to perform the duties of his of- 
fice or vocation. It is impossible to will a thing 
that lies outside the scope of one's knowledge.' 
If a man unknowingly directs his action towards 
such an object, that action is in so far forth in- 
voluntary (involuntarium) .^ 

Ignorance may be culpable or inculpable (cul- 
pabilis s. inculpabilis) , vincible or invincible (vin- 
cibilis s, invincihilis) . 

Invincible ignorance is that which cannot be 
overcome by the use of ordinary intelligence. It 
involves no moral responsibility. 

Vincible ignorance, on the other hand,— the 
kind that can be dispelled by the use of ordinary 
intelligence,— may, in certain circumstances, di- 
minish moral responsibility, but never entirely 
abolishes it; for whatever is done in a state of 
vincible ignorance, is willed at least indirectly, 
and to that extent is voluntary. 

Ignorance due to gross negligence is called 
crass or supine {ignorantia crassa) ; when means 
are used to foster it, it is called affected {igno- 
rantia aifectata). Both crass and affected igno- 
rance are sinful.^ 

4 "Quod latet, ignotum est" 
"Ignoti nulla cupido," are Scholastic 

6 Cfr. St. Augustine, De Lib. Ar- 
bitr.. Ill, c. 19, n. 53: "^on tibi 
deputatur ad culpam, quod invitus 
ignoras, sed quod neglegis quaerere. 

quod ignoras.*' (Migrne, P. L., 
XXXII. 1297).— Cfr. St. Thomas, 
Summa TheoU, la 2ae, qu. 76, art. 

Cfr. Job XXI, 14; John IX, 41; 
XV, 22. 



3. Fear.— Fear (metus) is a disturbed condi- 
tion of the mind caused by real or imaginary dan- 
ger. Fear does not always destroy free-will, but 
generally diminishes accountability.^ 

Fear is grave or slight (metus gravis s. levis) 
according to the nature of the danger by which it 
is caused. As fear, generally speaking, does not 
exercise compulsion, the actions which it inspires 
are voluntary, though the degree of their imputa- 
bility varies in proportion to the disturbance ex- 
cited in the mind. Both canon and civil law re- 
gard acts inspired by grave and unjust fear as 
void.® If serious evil or danger suddenly over- 
whelms a man, so as to deprive him momentarily 
of the use of reason, the acts he performs in that 
state are involuntary ; in other words, a man may 
sometimes be so disturbed by fear that free-will 
is suspended. 

4. Concupiscence. — Concupiscence (concu- 
piscentia), in the general sense of the term, is any 
movement of the sensitive appetite towards its 
proper object.^ More particularly, it is that inor- 
dinate inclination to evil which is in human na- 
ture since the fall of Adam and Eve.^^ 

T Cfr. St. Thomas, Summa Theol., 
la 2ae, qu. 6, art. 6; qu. 41-44; 
St. Alphonsus, De Act. Human., n. 

8 Cfr. J. Laurentius, SJ., InstU. 
Inris Eccl., Freiburg 1903, pp. 458 
sqq.; E. Taunton, The Law of the 
Church, London 1906, p. 345. 

9 Cfr. Catechismus Romanus, P. 
Ill, c. 10, qu. 5: ** Sciendum est, 
concupiscenttam esse commotionem 
quandam ac vim animi, qua impulsi 
homines, quas non habcnt, res iucun- 
das appetunt." 

10 St. Thomas, Summa Theol., la 
2ae, qu. 30, art 1-3: "Concu- 





Concupiscence may precede or follow the ac- 
tion of the will. In the former case it is called 
antecedent; in the latter, consequent. 

Antecedent concupiscence ( concupiscentia an- 
tecedens) is involuntary when it completely im- 
pedes the use of reason, and in that case there is 
no accountability. Men are often ''blinded by 
passion." When the use of reason is not entirely 
suspended, the guilt of an evil act may be greatly 
diminished by passion.^^ Thus, to kill a man in 
a rage is less criminal than to murder him in cold 


Consequent concupiscence {concupiscentia con- 
sequens) may to some extent obscure the light 
of reason, but as a rule increases the malice of 
evil acts^^ because it is either deliberately ex- 

piscentia est appetitus boni delecta- 
bilis . . . secundum sensum, . . . 
appetitus sensitivus, passio appetitus 
sensitivi." Cfr. qu. 77 , art. i and 
7. — St. Alphonsus, De Act. Human., 
n. 23-25; Pohle-Preuss, God the Au- 
thor of Nature and the Supernatural, 
2nd ed., St. Louis 1916, pp. 203, 217, 
245, 261 sqq., 283 sqq. 

11 Cfr. St. Thomas, Summa Theol., 
la 2ae, qu. 77* art. 7: "Passio 
quandoque quidem est tanta, quod 
totaliter aufert usum rationis, sicut 
patet in his qui propter amorem vel 
iram insaniunt, et tunc si talis passio 
a principio fuerit voluntaria, imputa- 
tur actus ad peccatum, quia est vo- 
luntarius in sua causa. ... 5"* vero 
causa non fuerit voluntaria, sed na- 
turalis, puta quum aliquis ex aegritu- 
dine vel aliqua huiusmodi causa in- 
cidit in talem passionem, quae totali- 

ter aufert usum rationis, actus om- 
nino redditur involuntarius et per 
consequens totaliter a peccato ex- 
cusatur. Quandoque vero passio non 
est tanta, quod totaliter inter cipiat 
usum rationis, et tunc ratio potest 
passionem excludere divertendo ad 
alias cogitationes vel impedire, ne 
suum consequatur effectum, quia 
membra non appHcantur operi nisi 
per consensum rationis. Unde talis 
passio non totaliter excusat a pec- 
cato." (Cfr. qu. 10, art 3; qu. 73, 
art. 6). 

12 St. Thomas, Summa Theol., la 
2ae, qu. 6, art. 7: "Concupiscentia 
non causat involuntarium, sed magis 
facit aliquid voluntarium. Dicitur 
enim aliquid voluntarium ex eo, quod 
voluntas in id fertur; per concupi- 
scentiam autem voluntas inclinatur ad 
volendum id quod concupiscit, et 



cited by the will or, at any rate, willed in its 

/^o,*oz^ 13 


Readings.— St. Thomas, Summa Tlieol,. la 2ae, qu. 6, qu. 76 
sq.— V. Cathrein, S.J., Moralphilosophie, Vol. I, 4th ed., Freiburg 
1904, pp. 73 sqq.— A. Huber, Die Hemmnis^e der Willens- 
freilteit, pp. 48 sqq.— Ballerini-Palmieri, Opus Theol Mor., Vol. 
I, tr. I, c. 3-6.— Th. Slater, S.J., A Manual of Moral Theology] 
Vol. I, pp. 30 sqq.-M. Cronin, The Science of Ethics, Vol. I, pp! 
41 sqq.— A. Sweens, Theologia Moralis Fundamentally, 2nd ed., 
Haaren 1910, pp. 59 sqq.— F. P. Kenrick, Theologia Moralis, Vol! 
I, pp. 7 sqq. 

ideo concupiscentia magis facit ad 
hoc, quod aliquid sit voluntarium 
quam quod sit involuntarium." — Qu. 
77» art. i: "Passio appetitus sensi. 
tivi non potest directe trahere aut 
movere voluntatem, sed indirect e pot- 
est et hoc dupliciter: uno quidem 
modo secundum quondam abstrac- 
tionem. . . . Alio modo ex parte ob- 
iecti voluntatis, quod est bonum ra- 
Hone apprehensum" 

13 Cfr. St. Thomas, Summa Theol., 
la 2ac, qu. 77, art. 6: "Passio con- 
sequens non diminutt peccatum, sed 
magis auget vel potius est signum 
magnitudinis eius, inquantum scil. 
demonstrat intensionem voluntatis ad 
actum peccati. Et sic verum est. 

quod quanta aliquis maiore libidine 
vel concupiscentia peccat. tan to 
magis peccat. "—Idem, De Veritate, 
qu. 26, art. 7: "Passio ipsa conse- 
quens in inferiori appetitu est sig- 
num, quod sit motus voluntatis in- 
tensus. Non enim potest esse in 
natura passibili, quod voluntas ad 
aliquid fortiter moveatur, quin sequa- 
tur aliqua passio »n parte inferiori. 
Unde dicit Augustinus, dum vitae 
huius infirmifatem gerimus, si passi- 
ones nullas habemus, non recte vivi- 
mus."— The passage of St. Augus- 
tine here referred to by the Angelic 
Doctor is De Civitate Dei, XIV, 
c. 9, n. 4 (Migne, P, L., XLI, 451). 







I. The objective norm of morality, i. e., the 
rule by which men must regulate their conduct, is 
the will of God as manifested through nature and 

"The measure or rule of the human will is two- 
fold, one proximate and homogeneous to the will 
itself, namely human reason ; the other is the first 
rule, namely, the eternal law, which is as it were 
the reason of God." ^ 

Whenever an act proceeds to the end accord- 
ing to the order of reason and of the eternal law, 
the act is right ; when it swerves from this recti- 
tude, it is wrong, i. e., a sin.^ 

1 St. Thomas, Summa Theol, la 
aae, qu. 71, art. 6: "Regula hu- 
manae voluntatis est duplex: una 
propinqua et homogenea, scil. ipsa 
humana ratio; alia vera est prima 
regula, sctl. lex aeterna, quae est 
quasi ratio Dei." (Rickaby's tr.). 

2 Summa Theol., la aae, qu. 21, 
art. i: "In his, quae aguntur per 
voluntatem, regula proxima est ratio 
humana, regula autem suprema est 
lex aeterna. . . . Omnis actus volun- 
tarius est malus per hoc, quod rece- 
dit ab ordine rationis et legis 





Law, therefore, is but another name for the . 
divine will recognized as the standard of human 
conduct.^ In a narrower sense law may be de- 
fined as ''an ordinance of reason for the general 
good, promulgated by him who has the care of the 
community." ^ 

2. The source and measure of all law, physi- 
cal, spiritual, and ethical, is the lex aeterna, i. e., 
the intellect and will of God commanding men to 
observe the right order and forbidding its dis- 

This divine law is promulgated in time {lex 
temporalis) y (i) as the law of physical nature 
and (2) as the law of the moral order {lex 

The moral law is either natural, in as far as it 
is promulgated by the rational nature of man ( lex 
moralis naturalis, ius naturae),^ or positive {lex 
moralis positiva), in so far as it is made known 
by supernatural Revelation.'' 

God also manifests His will through human 

aeternae, et omnis actus bonus con- 
cordat rationi et legi aeternae" 

3 Sumtna Theol., la aae, qu. 90, 
art. i: "Lex quaedam regula est 
et mensura actuum, secundum quam 
inducitur aliquis ad agendum vel 
ah agendo retrahitur. Dicitur enim 
lex a ligando, quia obligat ad agen- 
dum." — On the derivation of the 
word lex from legere see Cicero, De 
Le gibus, I, 19; St. Augustine, 
Quaest, in Heptateuch., Ill, qu. 20 
(Migne, P. L., XXXIV, 681). 

4 "Lex nihil aliud est quam quae- 
dam ordinatio rationis ad bonum 
commune ab eo, qui curam habet 
communitatis, promulgata." (St. 
Thomas, Summa Theol., la aae, qu. 
90, art. 4). 

B Cfr. St. Augustine, Contra Faust. 
Manich., XXII, c. 27 (Migne, P. 
L., XLII, 418). 

eDeut. XXX, 11-14; Matth. VII, 
12; Rom. II, 14-15. 

7P8. CXLVII, 19; Heb. I, 1-3. 



laws, which are called ecclesiastical {leges ecclesi- 
asticae s. canonic ae ) when made by the Church, 
or civil {leges civile s) when imposed by the au- 
thority of the State. 

Readings.— St. Thomas, Summa Theologka, la 2ae, qu. 90-108 
(Rickaby, Aquinas Ethicus, Vol. I, pp. 264 sqq.).--E. Seydel, 
Das ewige Gesetz, Vienna 1902.— E. Janvier, Exposition de la 
Morale Catholique, Vol. VII, Paris i909.-~Thos. Slater, S.J., 
A Manual of Moral Theology, Vol. I, New York 1908, pp. 81 
sqq.— Jos. Rickaby, S.J., Moral Philosophy, new impression, Lon- 
don 1908, pp. 126 sqq.— Suarez, De Legihus, Vol. I, 12 and II, 6.— 
V. Cathrein, S.J., art. "Law" in the Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 
IX, pp. 53 sqq.— Idem, Moralphilosophie, Vol. I, 4th ed., pp. 332 
sqq.— Thos. Bouquillon, Theologia Fundamentalis, n. 52 sqq.— S. 
Schiffini, S.J., Philosophia M oralis, Turin 1891, Vol. I, pp. 104 sqq. 
— M. Cronin, The Science of Ethics, Vol. I, pp. 597 sqq.— A. 
Sweens, Theologia Moralis Fundamentalis, 2nd ed., Haaren 1910, 
pp. 120 sqq.— A. Tanquerey, S.S., Synopsis Theologiae Moralis, 
Vol. II, Tournai 1905, PP. "9 sqq. 





I. Definition. — By the moral law of nature 
(lex moralis naturalis) is understood the sum- 
total of those ethical precepts which God has im- 
planted in the rational nature of man. It is that 
law which St. Paul says is "written in the hearts'' 
of men/ in order to enable them to attain their 
natural destiny as free beings/ capable of doing 
right or wrong. 

The moral law of nature is promulgated by 

The content or object of this law are the gen- 
eral conditions under which man lives as an ethi- 

1 Rom. II, 15. — Cfr. Pohlc-Preuss, 
God: His Knowability, Essence, and 
Attributes, pp. 18 sqq. — St. Augus- 
tine, De Div. Quaest., 83, qu. 33, n. 
2: '*Quasi transcripta est naturalis 
lex in animam rationalem, ut in ipsa 
vitae huius conversatione moribusque 
terrenis homines talium distribu- 
tionum imagines servent." (Migne, 
P. L., XL, 36). — Idem, Epist., 
CLVII (a/. 89), n. 15: "Lex est 
etiam in ratione hominis, qui iam 
utitur arbitrio libertatis, naturaliter 

in corde conscripta, qua suggeritur, 
ne aliqiiid faciat quisque alteri, quod 
pati ipse non vult." {P. L., 
XXXIII, 681). 

2 Cfr. St. Thomas, Summa Theol., 
la 2ae, qu. 91, art. 2: "Lex na- 
turalis nihil aliud est quam partici- 
patio legis aeternae in rationali 
creatura." — Ibid., qu. 93, art. i: 
"Lex aeterna nihil aliud est quam 
ratio divinae sapientiae, secundum 
quod est directiva omnium actuum 
et motionum" 


cal being, especially his relations to God, to him- 
self, and to his f ellowmen.^ 

Though present from the beginning, the moral 
law of nature at first manifests itself but vaguely 
in human reason, but with the growth of that 
faculty the concept of law and its obligatory force 
is more clearly and fully brought home to the 

2. Existence. — The existence of the moral 
law of nature can be proved from the Old and the 
New Testament. 

It is of this natural law, above all others, that 
Jehovah says : "This commandment that I com- 
mand thee this day is not above thee, nor far off 
from thee. Nor is it in heaven, that thou 
shouldst say : Which of us can go up to heaven 
to bring it unto us, and we may hear and fulfil 
it in work ? Nor is it beyond the sea : that thou 
mayest excuse thyself, and say : Which of us can 
cross the sea, and bring it unto us : that we may 
hear, and do that which is commanded ? But the 
word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth and in 
thy heart, that thou mayest do it." * 

More definite is the teaching of St. Paul, who 
says: "For when the gentiles, who have not 
the [positive divine] law, do by nature those 
things that are of the law; these having not the 

8 Rom. I, 18-25; Tob. IV, 16; 31-33; Wisd. IV, 20; Matth. VII, 
Matth. VII, 12. 12. 

4 Deut. XXX, 1-14; cfr. Jer. XXI, 




law [i. e.y the positive law] are a law to them- 
selves : who shew the work \i, e., substance] of the 
law written in their hearts, their conscience bear- 
ing witness to them, and their thoughts between 
themselves, accusing, or also defending one an- 
other." ^ 

Therefore, though the positive law of God had 
not been revealed to the gentiles, they knew and 
observed its essence in the Decalogue. The law 
was implanted in their very nature and revealed 
itself to them. 

The existence of the moral law of nature is at- 
tested by human consciousness. Cicero says that 
the natural law is co-eval with the divine intellect, 
and that all men are imbued with it.^ Ecclesi- 
astical Tradition on the subject is so constant and 
uniform that there is no need of developing it.'' 

6 Rom. II, 14-15. — Cfr. Th. H. 
Simar, Theologie des hi. Paulus, 2nd 
ed., pp. 80 sqq.; J. Quirmbach, Die 
Lehre des hi. Paulus von der natur- 
lichen Gotteserkenntnis und detn 
naturlichen Sittengesetz, Freiburg 
1906, pp. 60 sqq. 

eDe Legibus, II, 4: *'Orta est 
simul cum mente divina. Quamob- 
rem lex vera atque princeps, apta 
ad iubendum et ad vetandum, ratio 
est recta summi lovis." Cfr. Pro 
Milone, 10: "Est non scripta^ sed 
nata lex, . . . ad quam non docti, 
sed facti, non instituti, sed imbuti 

7 On the teaching of Clement of 
Alexandria and Origen see the mono- 
graphs of W. Capitaine, Die Moral 
des Klemens v. Alexandrien, Pader- 

born 1903. pp. 22^ sqq., and De 
Origenis Ethica, Mtinster 1898, pp. 
76 sqq. — St. Ambrose says {De 
Abraham, II, c. 11, n. 98): "Ne- 
sciat [sapiens'i nisi secundum natu- 
ram vivere, in cuius instituto et or- 
dine Dei lex est** (Migne, P. L., 
XIV, 500). — Idem, De Fuga Saec, c. 
3, n. 15: "Lex gemina est, naturalis 
et scripta. Naturalis in corde, scripta 
in tabulis.'* (P. L., XIV, 577) — 
Idem, Epist., 73, n. 2-3: "Esse le- 
gem naturalem in cordibus nostris 
etiam Apostolus docet, qiii scripsit, 
quia plerumque 'et gentes naturaliter 
ea, quae legis sunt, faciunt,' etc. Ea 
igitur lex non scribitur. sed innasci- 
tur, nee aliqua percipitur lectione, 
sed proHuo quodam naturae fonte in 
singulis exprimitur et humanis in- 




God Himself is the author of the moral law of nature. 
The organ of the natural revelation through which He pro- 
mulgates it, is human reason. 

Reason, therefore, is not the author of law.® Rea- 
son is not autonomous ; it cannot make laws independently 
of God,*' but is merely the organ through which the Su- 
preme Lawgiver proclaims His will. ^ It was in this sense 
that St. Augustine called the moral law of nature "the law 
of reason which not even iniquity itself is able to de- 
stroy.'' '1 

The sum-total of the ordinances contained in the moral 
law of nature is often called *'the natural law." ^^ The 
existence of a natural law in this sense is admitted by all 
Catholic philosophers and theologians. But there is a 
controversy regarding the question whether the natural 
law embodies practicable rules for all the social relations 
of men, binding them prior to and outside of positive, es- 
pecially human, legislation.^^ 

geniis hauntur." (P. L„ XVI, 
1251). — On the teaching of St, Au- 
gustine, who treats cf the natural 
law very exhaustively in different 
parts of his writings, see H. Ober- 
rauch, De Lege Dei Aeterna ad 
Mentem S. Augustini, Innsbruck 
1776, pp. 14 sqq. — The Catechism of 
the Council of Trent (III, c. i, qu. 
3) says; "Nemo est, quin sibi a 
Deo legem in animo insitam esse 
sentiat." — Pius IX, in his Encyclical 
Letter of Aug. 10, 1863, declares: 
"Naturalem legem in omnium cordi- 
bus a Deo insculptam es.'se." 

8 Cfr. St. Thomas, Summa Theol., 
I a 2ae, qu. 91, art. 3, ad 2: "Ratio 
humana secundum se non est regula 
morum, sed principia ei naturaliter 
indita sunt regulae quaedam gene- 
rales et mensuratae omnium eorum, 
quae sunt per homtnem agenda.*' — 
The Syllabus of Pius IX condemns 

the following assertion (prop. 3) : 
"Humana ratio, nulla prorsus Dei 
respectu Juibito, unicus est veri et 
falsi, boni et mali arbiter, sibi ipsi 
est lex et naturalibus suis viribus 
ad hominum ac populorum bonum cu- 
randum sufHcit." (DenzingerBann- 
wart, n, 1703). 

9 Cfr. Deut. VI, 13; Matth. IV, 
10; Luke XXII, 42; John IV, 34; 
VI. 36. 

10 Cfr, Saint Thomas, Summa 
'Iheol., la 2ae, qu. 90, art. 4, ad i: 
"Promulgatio legis naturae est ev 
hoc ipso, quod Deus earn mentibus 
hominum inseruit cognoscendam," 

11 "Lex rationts, quam ne ipsa qui- 
dem delet iniquitas." Epist., 157 
(al. 80), n. 18 (Migne, P. L., 
XXXIII, 683) ; cfr. Confess., II, c. 4 
(P. L., XXXII, 678), 

12 lus naturale. 

13 Cfr. Theodore Meyer, S.J., Dig 

I ' 



Readings.— Theodore Meyer, S.J., Institutiones luris Naturalis, 
Vol. I, 2nd ed., Freiburg 1906.— G. von Hertling, Kleine Schriften 
sur Zeitgeschichte und Politik, Freiburg 1897, PP- 168 sqq.— C. 
Gutberlet, Ethik und Naturrccht, 3rd ed., pp. 123 sqq.— Jos. 
Rickaby, S.J., Moral Philosophy, pp. 133 sqq.— J. Haring, Der 
Rechts- und Gesctscsbegriff, Graz 1899, pp. 25 sqq.— V. Cathrein, 
S.J., Recht, Naturrecht und positives Recht, Freiburg 1901, pp. loi 
sqq. — Idem, in the Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. V, pp. 562 sq. — R. I. 
Holaind, SJ., Natural Law and Legal Practice, New York 1899, 
pp. 37 sqq. — M. Cronin, The Science of Ethics, Vol. I, pp. 607 sqq. 
—A. Tanquerey, S.S., Synopsis Theologiae Moralis, Vol. II, pp. 
123 sqq.— A. Sweens, Theologia Moralis Fundamentalis, 2nd ed., 
pp. 139 sqq. 

Grundsdtze der Sittlichkeit nnd des V. Cathrein, S.J., Moralphilosophie, 
Rechts, Freiburg 1868, pp. 147 SQQ-; Vol. I, 4tli ed., pp. 485 aQQ. 





I. The natural law is universal, that is to say, 
it embraces all the actions of man.^ Because of 
this universality it is the foundation and measure 
of all positive law, divine as well as human, ec- 
clesiastical as well as civil.^ No law is valid un- 
less it conforms to the moral law of nature. 
Hence it is false to say that politicians and diplo- 
mats are bound by a different law than that which 
governs private life. 

The natural law, moreover, is universal because 
it binds all men. Its divine Author recognizes no 
''super-man.'' No human being is ''beyond good 
and bad," as Nietzsche would have it, but all 
without exception are subject to the precepts of 
the moral law.^ Human nature is essentially the 

1 Cfr. St. Thomas, Summa Theol., 
la 2ae, qu. 93, art. i : "Lex ae- 
terna nihil aliud est quatn ratio di- 
vinae sapientiae, secundum quod est 
directiva omnium actuum et mo^ 

2 Cfr. St. Thomas, Summa Theol., 
la 2ae, qu. 99, art. 2, ad i : "Sicut 
gratia praesupponit naturam, ita 
oportet, quod lex divina praesupponat 
legem naturalem." — Ibid., qu. 95, 
art. 2: "Omnis lex humanitus posita 
intantum habet de ratione legis, in- 
quantum a lege naturae derivatur. 

Si vero in aliquo a lege naturali diS' 
cordet, iam non erit lex, sed legis 
corruptio." — F. Suarez, De Legibus, 
II, c. 9, n. 10: "Natura est funda- 
mentum tam gratiae quam cuiuscun- 
que legis humanae. Principia etiam 
naturalia, per quae homo in morali- 
bus gubernari debet, tam sunt ge- 
neralia, ut virtute [«. e. virtualiterl 
comprehendant omnem obligationem, 
ita ut nulla possit homini applicari 
nisi mediantibus illis principiis.** 
{Opera Omnia, V, 120). 
3 Pius IX condemned the follow- 





same in all men, and hence all are equal before 
the natural law without distinction of time, place, 
sex, or intellectual attainments. ''Lex naturalis/' 
the Schoolmen were wont to say, ''est una 

yy 4 


In view of the fact that the light of reason was 
darkened by the fall of our first parents, we must 
distinguish between primary and secondary pre- 
cepts of the natural law.^ The knowledge of the 
former (prima et communis sima principia), 
though often impaired by sin, cannot be effaced 
from the human conscience. Man may, however, 
through internal and external influences, so com- 
pletely lose all knowledge of the secondary prin- 

ing propositions in his famous Sylla- 
bus (No. 56) : "Morum leges divind 
haud egent sanctione minimeque 
opus est, ut humanae leges ad na- 
turae ius conformentur aut obligandi 
viatn a Deo accipiant.'* No. 64: 
"Turn cuiusque sanctissimi iuramenti 
violatio turn quaelibet scelesta flagi- 
tiosaque actio sempiternae legi re- 
pugnans non solum haud est impro- 
handa, verum etiam omnino licita 
summisque laudibus efferenda, 
quando id pro patriae amore agatur," 
(Denzinger-Bannwart, numbers 1756 
and 1764). 

4Cfr. Cicero, De Republica, III, 
22: '*Nec erit alia lex Romae, alia 
Athenis, alia nunCs alia postea, sed 
et omnes gentes et omni tempore una 
lex et sempitema et immutabilis con- 
tinebit, unusque erit communis quasi 
magister et imperator omnium Deus, 
ille legis huius inventor, disceptator, 
lator. Cui, qui non parebit^ ipse se 
fugiet ac naturam hominis aspernatus 
hoc ipso luet maximas poenas." — 

St. Thomas, Summa TheoL, la 2ae, 
qu. 91, art. 5, ad 3: '*Lex naturalis 
dirigit hominem secundum quaedam 
praecepta communia, in quibus con- 
veniunt tam perfecti quam imper- 
fecti, et ideo est una omnium, Sed 
lex divina dirigit hominem etiam in 
particularibus quibusdam, ad quae 
non similiter se habent perfecti et 
imperfecti, et ideo oportuit legend 
esse duplicem." — On the foolish no- 
tion of the "superman" see W. 
Schneider, Gottliche Weltordnung, 
2nd ed., pp. 165 sqq., 233 sqq.; F. 
Sawicki, Das Problem der Person- 
lichkeit und des tjbermenschen, Pa- 
derborn 1909. 

6 Cfr. St. Thomas, Summa Theol., 
xa 2ae, qu. 94, art. 6: "Ad legem 
naturalem pertinent primo quidem 
quaedam praecepta communissima, 
quae sunt omnibus nota, secundaria 
autem quaedam secundaria praecepta 
magis propria, quae sunt quasi con- 
clusiones propinquae principiis,*' 








ciples of the natural law (praecepta secundaria) 
that he is led to commit evil actions without 
being aware of their true character.^ Such ac- 
tions are morally guiltless, which is but another 
way of saying that with regard to the secondary 
precepts of the natural law there may be what 
theologians call ignorantia invincibilis et inculpa- 

Many writers distinguish three species of moral pre- 
cepts : 

(i)'First, highest, and most general precepts (prae- 
cepta primaria), as, "We must do good and avoid evil,*' 
"We must worship God/* etc. ; 

(2) Secondary precepts {praecepta secundaria), de- 
rived by direct deduction from the first, as : "We must 
not blaspheme," "We must not lie,*' etc. ; 

(3) Remote precepts {praecepta remota), which are 

6 Cfr. Tertullian, De Anima, c. 
41: "Inest et bonum animae illud 
principale, illud divinum atque ger- 
manum et proprie naturale. Quod 
enim a Deo est, non tam extinguitur 
quam obumbratur. Potest enim 
obumbrari, quia non est Deus, ex- 
tingui non potest, quia a Deo est." 
{Corpus Script. Eccles. Lot., Vol. 
XX, pp. I, 368).— St. Augustine, 
Confess., II, c. 4: "Lex scripta in 
cordibus hominum, quam ne ipsa qui- 
dem delet iniquitas." (Migne, P. 
L., XXXII, • 678).— St. Thomas, 
Summa TheoL, la 2ae, qu. 94, art. 6: 
"Quantum ad ilia principia com- 
munia, lex naturalis nulla modo pot- 
est a cordibus hominum deleri in 
universali, deletur tamen in parti- 
culari operabili, secundum quod ratio 
impeditur appUcare commune prin- 
cipium ad particulare operabile prop- 

ter concupiscentiam vel aliquam 
aliam passionem. Quantum vero ad 
alia praecepta secundaria, potest lex 
naturalis deleri de cordibus hominum 
vel propter malas persuasiones {eo 
modo, quo etiam in speculativis er- 
rores contingunt circa conclusiones 
necessarias) vel etiam propter pravas 
consuetudines et habitus corruptos, 
sicut apud quosdam non reputaban- 
tur latrocinia peccata vel etiam vitia 
contra naturam, sicut etiam Aposto- 
lus dicit." (Rom. I, 18-32). 

7 Among the propositions con- 
demned by Alexander VIII, Dec. 7. 
1690, is the following (prop. 2): 
"Tametsi detur ignorantia invincibilis 
iuris naturae, haec in statu naturae 
lapsae operantem ex ipsa non excu- 
sat a peccato formali." (Denzinger- 
Bannwart, n. 1291).— On the theolog- 
ical controversy regarding the t^- 





deducible from the first indirectly, by a process of logical 
reasoning, as: "It is wrong to practice usury," *'Lost 
articles should be restored to their rightful owners," 

With regard to precepts of the second class (secun- 
daria), persons intellectually undeveloped or unfamiliar 
with the common teaching of morality may occasionally 
err, though only for a time. The precepts of the third 
class are easily subject to invincible, and therefore guilt- 
less, error. 

It is impossible, however, to draw a hard and fast line 
between the precepts of the second and those of the third 
class. Some theologians (Scotus, Gerson, etc.) have 
held that the unity and indissolubility of marriage, 
the right of private property, and other important prin- 
ciples, cannot be deduced with certainty from the primary 
precepts of the natural law.® 

2. With respect to its binding force, the moral 
law of nature is absolute or unchangeable, that is 
to say, it cannot be abrogated by positive divine 
or human law.^ Not even God can change it or 
dispense from its precepts. The reason is that, 
as He commands man absolutely through the 
voice of conscience to do good and avoid evil, it 
would be a contradiction were He to permit any- 
one to disobey that voice.' 


norantia invincihilis, cfr. K. Wer- 
ner, Franx Suarex, Vol. I, pp. 354 

8 Cfr. A. Stockl, Geschichte der 
Philosophie des Mittelalters, Vol. II, 
pp. 852 sq. 

9 Cfr. St. Thomas, Summa Theol., 

la 2ae, qu. 94, art. s; V. Cathrein, 
S.J., 'Moralphihsophie, Vol. I, 4th 
ed.» pp. 401 sqq. 

10 Cfr. St. Thomas, Summa Theol, 
la 2ae, qu. 100, art. 8, ad 2: "Apo- 
stolus dicit (2 Tim. II, 13): *Deus 
Udelis permanet, negare seipsum non 




Those who hold that God can dispense from 
the precepts of the natural law, regard that law 
as an arbitrary fiat or' else think there is no other 
way of explaining certain incidents recorded m 
the Old Testament (the sacrifice of Abraham, the 
appropriation of the golden vessels by the Israel- 
ites, the marriage of Osee,^^ etc.). The former 
assumption is manifestly false. The latter may 
be characterized as a clumsy subterfuge. The 
exegetical difficulties which it was devised to 
meet, are real; but they cannot be solved 
by the assumption that God, as the Sovereign 
Lord and Lawgiver, can dispense from the pre- 
cepts of the natural law and arbitrarily dispose 
of the lives and property of men.'' For, though 
there are some technical difficulties in the text,'^ 
it is clearly impossible for God to dispense^ any 
man from the natural law because that law is an 
effluence of His voluntas ordinata, i. e., His will 

potest/ Negaret autem seipsum, si 
ordinem suae iustitiae auferret, quum 
ipse sit sua iustitia. Et ideo in hoc 
Deus dispensare non potest, ut ho- 
mini liceat non ordinate se habere 
ad Deum vel non subdi ordini iusti- 
tiae eius etiam in his, secundum quae 
homines ad invicem ordinantur." 

11 Gen. XXII, 2; Ex. I, iS-21; 
III, 22; XI, 2; XII. 35-36; Os. I, 2, 

12 Cfr. St. Augustine, Quaestiones 
in Heptateuch., VII, qu. 36 (Migne, 
P. L., XXXIV, 803); Idem, De 
Civitate Dei, I, c. 21 (P. L., XLI, 
35); Idem, De Divers. Quaest., 83, 
qu. 53 (P. L., XL, 34-38) ; St Ber- 
nard, Liber de Praec. et Dispens., c. 

3, n. 6-8 (P. L., CLXXXII, 864); 
St. Thomas, Summa Theol., la 2ae, 
qu. 100, art. 8, ad 3. 

13 With regard to the sacrifice of 
Abraham cfr. P. Scholz, Die hi Al- 
tirtUmer des Volkes Israel, Vol. II, 
Ratisbon 1868, pp. 119 sq.; on the 
marriage of Osee, W. Riedel, Altte- 
stamentliche Untersuchungen, Leipsic 
1902, pp. I sqq. (The prophet's 
consort was a servant of Baal and 
an idolatress, and in this sense is 
called "a wife of fornications"). On 
Ex. Ill, 22 see F. Bennewitz, Die 
SUnde im alten Israel, Leipsic 1907. 
pp. 70 sqq.— Cfr. Ph. Kneib, Die 

Jenseitsmoral," pp. 200 sqq. 




as governed by His wisdom and benevolence.^* 
Whatever the natural law commands is good and 
whatever it forbids is evil, not because it is com- 
manded or forbidden by lawful authority, but be- 
cause it is in conformity with, or opposed to, 
man's rational nature ; or, as the Scholastics say, 
''Non sunt bona quia praecepta, sed praecepta 
quia bona." 

To this consideration may be added another. 
God's action furnishes the ideal for the moral 
conduct of men. ''Be ye holy, because I the Lord 
your God am holy." '' He is absolute goodness. 
"One is good, God." ^« Jesus Christ, the second 
Person of the Trinity, is the pattern-exemplar 
of all perfection, "as a kind of law and living 
justice." ^' Were God, therefore, even in one 
single instance, to dispense from the natural law. 
He would set up a different rule of conduct for 
Himself and His rational creatures, and thus con- 
fuse the minds of men, give scandal, and render 
His own example ineffective.^® 

i4Cfr. Rom. VH, 14; Eph. I, u; 

Kneib, Die " J enseitsmoral ," pp. 

38 sqq.; P. Minges, O.F.M., Der 

Gotteshegriff des Duns Scotus, pp. 
loi sqq., 120 sqq. 

15 Lev. XIX, 2; cfr. Lev. XI, 44; 
Matth. V, 48; I Pet. I, 16. 

leMatth. XIX, 17: '^Unus est 
bonus, Deus." 

17 ". . . quasi quaedam lex et 
quaedam iustitia animata." (St. 

Thomas, Summa Theol., 3a, qu. 59, 
art 2, ad i). 

18 St. Thomas, De Veritate, qu. 
23, art. 6: "Voluntas non habet ra- 
tionem primae regulae, sed est regula 
recta. Dirigitur enim per rationem 
et intellectum, non solum in nobis, 
sed in Deo. . . . Dicere quod ex 
simplici voluntate dependeat iustitia, 
est dicere, quod divina voluntas non 
procedat secundum ordinem sapien- 
tiae, quod est blasphemum/'-^IoEU, 
Summa TheoL, la, qu. 21, art. i, ad 
2: *'Quum bonum intellectum sit 
obiectum voluntatis, impossibile est. 





To-day not a few who reject the teaching of Christian- 
ity demand an ethical system in which man is his own law. 
This demand is to some extent justified. Man has a right 
to insist that the moral yoke imposed on him should 
conform to his rational nature. But reason is not the 
highest and final authority. Man, far from being inde- 
pendent and autonomous, is a creature subject to God. On 
the other hand we must not exaggerate the heteronomous 
side of Christian ethics. The moral law is not an arbi- 
trary fiat of the Almighty which demands blind obedi- 
ence without regard to the dictates of reason. Heteron- 
omy in this sense would be unworthy of human nature 
and of God. In matter of fact Christian morality is by 
no means onesidedly heteronomous. It combines auton- 
omy with heteronomy by teaching that, though God is the 
Author of all law, His will is not arbitrary, but based on 
His wisdom. Human reason being a reflection of the di- 
vine Intellect, its dictates must coincide with the laws of 
God. In other words, the will of God is promulgated 
in our rational nature, which thereby becomes for us the 
proximate, though only a secondary, source of the moral 
law. Man sins when he acts against his reason or con- 
viction. But reason does not get its authority from itself. 
God, from whom all authority comes, has inscribed the 
natural law into the hearts of his rational creatures. 

Thus, according to the Catholic view, man serves God 
by obeying the dictates of his reason, and morality is alike 
autonomous and heteronomous. 

Deum velle nisi quod ratio suae 
sapientiae habet. Quae quidem est 
sicut lex iustitiae, secundum quam 
eius voluntas recta et iusta est. 
Unde quod secundum suam volun- 

tatem facit, iuste facit, sicut et nos 
quod secundum legem facimus, iuste 
facimus. Sed nos quidem secun- 
dum legem alicuius superioris, Deus 
autem sibi ipsi est lex/* 



Readings.— E. Sawicki, H^ert und Wurde der Personlichkeit im 
Christentum, Cologne 1906.— Idem, Das Problem der Persdnlich- 
keit und des Uebermenschen, Paderborn 1909.— Ph. Kneib, Die 
" Meter onomie'' der christlichen Moral, pp. 17 sqq.— Idem,' Die 
Venseitstnorar im Kampfe um ihre Grundlagen, pp. 7 sqq!— M. 
Cronin, The Science of Ethics, Vol. I, pp. 615 sqq. 





The positive divine law consists of precepts 
which God has given and supernaturally re- 
vealed to men for their salvation. Such legisla- 
tion is morally necessary because reason is seri- 
ously impaired in consequence of the fall of our 
first parents, and man has not only a natural but 
likewise a supernatural destiny.^ 

The manifestation of God's will known as the 
positive divine law is contained in the Old and 
New Testaments. 

I. The Old Testament. — The positive law of 

1 Cfr. St. Thomas, Summa Theol., 
I a, qu. I, art. i. — Idem, Summa 
contra Gentiles, 1. I, c. 4. — Idem, 
Comment, in Sent., Ill, dist. 24, 
qu. I, art. 3. — Cone. Vatican., Sess. 
Ill, c. 2; can. 2-3 de Revel. — St. 
Ambrose, Epist., 73, n. 9: "Non 
fuisset necessaria [lex, quae per 
Moysen data esfl, si illam legem 
naturalem servare potuissemus, sed 
quia non servavimus, ista lex per 
Moysen necessaria facta est." 
(Migne, P. L., XVI, 1253).— St. Au- 
gustine, Enarr. in Ps., 57, n. i: 
*'Manus format oris nostri in ipsis cor- 
dibus nostris Veritas scripsit: 'Quod 
tibi non vis fieri, ne facias alteri.' 
iTob. IV, 16; Matth. VII, i^]. Hoc 
£t antequam lex ditretur, nemo ig- 

norare permissus est, ut esset unde 
iudicarentur et quibus lex non esset 
data. Sed ne sibi homines aliquid 
defuisse quererentur, scriptum est et 
in tabulis, quod in cordibus non lege- 
bant." (P. L., XXXVI, 673).— 
Idem, Confess., VII, c. 21, n. 27 
(P. L., XXXII, 748).— F. J. Mach, 
Die Notwendigkeit der Offenbarung, 
Mayence, 1883. — J. Scheeben, Dog- 
matik. Vol. I, pp. 17 sqq. — Th. 
Meyer, S.J., Instit. luris Naturalis, 
Vol. I, 2nd ed,, pp. 255 sqq. — Cat. 
Rom., P. I. c. 2, qu. 6. — St, 
Thomas, Summa Theol., la, qu. i, 
art i: "A veritatis cognitione depen- 
det tota hominis salus, quae in Deo 




the Old Testament (lex vetus) is partly pre- 
Mosaic and partly Mosaic. The pre-Mosaic law 
consists of certain precepts given to individuals, 
(Noe, Abraham, etc.) mostly concerning divine 
worship, the use of animals for sacrifice, the rite 
of circumcision, etc.^ 

Rabbinic tradition has handed down seven **Noachian 
precepts," i, e, canons or laws which were given by Je- 
hovah to the sons of Noe. These precepts enjoin: (i) 
Submission to civil authority, kings, judges, etc.; (2) 
Avoidance of idolatry and sacrilege; (3) Reverence for 
the name of God, as in taking an oath; (4) Proper re- 
straint and direction of the sexual instinct; (5) Reverence 
for life, even of animals, by refusing to consume the blood 
of beasts as food ; (6) Respect for the rights of property ; 
(7) Refusal to eat the members bf a living animal. To 
these the Rabbins added others. Thus no stranger was 
allowed to dwell among the Hebrews unless he became a 
"proselyte of the gate,'' L e,, unless he worshipped the one 
true God and observed the Noachian precepts. 

The Mosaic law consisted mainly of ''the judg- 
ments, precepts, and laws which the Lord gave 
. . . in Mount Sinai by the hand of Moses.'' ^ 
These precepts are commonly divided into three 
classes: moral, ceremonial, and judicial. 

2 Gen. VII, 2; IX, 4 (cfr. Acts 
XV. 20); XVII, 10-14; XXXVIII, 
8 (cfr. Deut. XXV, 5 sq.).— A. 
Wiener, Die jiidischen Speisegesetze, 
Breslau 1895. — K. BockenhoflF, Das 
apostolische Speisegesets, Paderborn 
1903, pp. 8 sqq. — Ideic, Speisesat- 
zungen mosaischer Art in mittel- 

alterlichen Kirchenrechtsquellen, 

Munstcr 1907, pp. i sqq., 50 sqq. — 
G. Resch, Das Aposteldekret, Leip- 
sic 1905, pp. 19 sqq,, 41 sqq. — A. 
Secberg, Die beiden Wege und das 
Aposteldekret, Leipsic 1906, pp. 38 
sqq., S3 sqq. 
8 Lev. XXVI, 45; Dwt, VI, I, 20; 



I. The purely moral precepts of the Mosaic 
law (pr accept a moralia) are all traceable to 
the Decalogue.^ They are "words of life," ^ 
because they express the will of the living God 
and are intended to give eternal life to those who 
observe them.^ 

The Decalogue contains two precepts which do 
not formally coincide with the commandments of 
the natural law. They are: the (temporary) 
prohibition of graven things or images, and the 
sanctification of the Sabbath. With the excep- 
tion of these two precepts, the Decalogue em- 
bodies the natural law and consequently forms the 
basis of all ethical teaching. This explains why 
Christ did not abrogate the law of Moses, but 
expounded and fulfilled it and raised it to a higher 

The third commandment in its literal wording is purely 
ritual; it simply designates a day for public worship 
and commands that day to be hallowed in a definite man- 

VII, II. — Cfr. St. Thomas, Summa 
Theol., la aae, qu. 99, art. 2-5. 

4 Ex. XX, 2-17; Deut. IV, 13; cfr. 
Matth. XXII, 37-40. — St. Augustine, 
Serm., 9 (al. 96 de temp.)^ n. 7: 
"Tota lex in duobus praeceptis est, 
in dilectione Dei et dilectione pro- 
ximi; ad duo itaque praecepta, i. e. 
ad dUectionem Dei et proximi perti- 
net decalogus." — Ibid., n. 14: "De- 
cern praecepta ad duo ilia referuntur, 
ut diligamus Deum et proximum; et 
duo ilia ad unum illud. Unum est 
autem: 'Quod tibi fieri non vis, alii 

ne feceris.' Ibi continentur decern, 
ibi continentur duo," (Migne, P. 
L., XXXVIII, 80, 8d). 

5 \6yia fwyra. Acts VII, 38. — 
Cfr. J. E. Belser, Die Apostelge- 
schichte, Vienna 1905, p. 100. 

6 Lev. XVIII, 5 : "Keep my laws 
and my judgements, which if a man 
do, he shall live in them.'* — Cfr. 
Deut. XXXII, 47; Rom. VII, 10, 12, 
14; Gal. Ill, 12. 

7 Matth. V, 17 sqq.; Rom. Ill, 31. 
— Cfr. Concil. Trident., Sess. VI, 
can. 19. 



ner. The public worship of God as such is a precept of 
the natural law.® 

2. The ceremonial precepts of the Mosaic law 
(praecepta caeremonialia sive legalia) typified 
Christ and His Church, and were abrogated by 
Him. 'The law was our pedagogue in Christ," 
says St. Paul, ''that we might be justified by faith ; 
but after the faith is come, we are no longer un- 
der a pedagogue.'' ® The ceremonial precepts 
of the Old Law, therefore, are no longer in force, 
but have been formally repealed, and hence it 
would be sinful to observe them. "Immediately 
after Christ's passion," says the Angelic Doctor, 
"[the legal precepts of the Old Law] were not 
only dead, i. e., no longer either eflfectual or bind- 
ing, but also deadly, that is to say, whoever ob- 
served them was guilty of mortal sin." ^^ 

3. The judicial precepts of the Old Law {prae- 
cepta iudicialia) ^^ are likewise abrogated, but it 

8 Cfr. St. Thomas, Summa TkeoL, 
23. 2ae, qu. 122, art. 4; Idem, Com- 
ment, in Sent., Ill, dist. 37, art. 5. 

• Gal. II, 3-5; cfr. Gal. Ill, 34- 
29; IV, 9-10; V, 2. 

10 Summa Theol., la 2ae, qu. 103, 
art. 4, ad i : "Statim post passionem 
Christi inceperunt [praecepta legalia'\ 
esse non solum mortua, t. e. non ha- 
bentia virtutem et obligationem, sed 
etiam mortifera, ita scilicet, quod 
peccabant mortaliter quicunque ea 
observabant," — Cfr. Acts XV, 10.— 
St Justin Martyr, Dial. c. Tryph., 
c 9-47. — St. Augustine, Epist., 82 
(a/. 18), n. 16: "Quisquis chri- 

stianorum, quamvis sit ex ludaeis, 
similiter ea celebrare voluerit, tarn- 
quam sopitos cineres eruens, non erit 
pius deductor vcl baiulus corporis, 
sed impius sepulturae violator." — 
Ibid., n. 20: Ilia, quae significationis 
causa praecepta sunt, . . . permit- 
tenda paululum eis maxime, qui ex 
illo populo, cui data sunt, venerant. 
Postea vero tamquam cum honore 
sepulta sunt, a christianis omnibus 
irreparabiliter deserenda.** (Migne, 
F. L., XXXIII, 282. 285). 

11 Exod. XXI-XXIII.— Cfr. A. 
Schopfer, Geschichte des alien Te- 
stamentes, 4th ed., Brixen 1906, pp. 



would not be sinful to obey them as mere human 
precepts, provided no obligation is attributed to 
them because of their being contained in the 
Mosaic code. In the language of the Schoolmen, 
these precepts are ''mortua, non tamen morti- 
ferar '^ 

The moral law of the Old Testament was a special 
prerogative granted to the Israelites in preference to other 
nations because "by them the pure light of the law was 
to be given to the world." ^^ But the Mosaic law was 
imperfect in its form (consisting mostly of prohibitions) 
as well as in the manner of its fulfilment. It did not pos- 
sess the power of justifying those to whom it was given, 
nor was it intended for this purpose. Its sole aim was to 
remind the Israelites of their sinfulness and to inspire 
them with a desire for Christ, who was to fulfil and per- 
fect the law.^* 

It would be wrong to say, however, — as Kant and 
Hegel and their respective followers do, — that the Mosaic 
law prescribed external acts only {lex mosaica cohibet 
manum, non animum). Its positive and negative pre- 
cepts alike demand internal obedience, e. g., thou shalt not 


304 sqq.; M. Seisenberger (tr. Bu- 
chanan), Practical 11 ludbook for the 
Study of the Bible, New* York 191 1, 
pp. 106 sqq. 

12 Cfr. Saint Thomas, Summa 
Theol., la 2ae, qu. 104, art. 3: 
"Praecepta iudicialia sunt quidem 
mortua, quia non habent rtw obli- 
gandi, non tamen sunt mortifera; 
quia si quis prxnceps ordinaret in 
regno suo ilia iudicialia observari, 
non peccaret, nisi forte hoc modo 
observarentur vcl observari manda- 
rentur, tamquam habentia vim ob- 
ligandi ex veteris legis instifutione, 

Talis enim intentio observandi esset 
mortifera."— Cir. F. E. Kiibel, 
Die sosiale und volkswirtschaftliche 
Gesetsgebung des alien Testaments, 
2nd ed., Stuttgart 1891; F. Buhl, 
Die sosialen Verhaltnisse der Israeli- 
ten, Berlin 1899; F. Walter, Die 
Prophet en in ihrem sosialen Beruf, 
Freiburg 1900, pp. 14 sqq. 

13 Wisd. XVIII, 4; cfr. Deut. IV, 
8; Ps. CXLVII. 19-20; Bar. Ill, 
9 to IV, 4; Rom. Ill, 1-2; IX, 4. 

14 Gal. II, 21; III, 24; V, i; cfr. 
Acts XV, 10, 

I i 




covet. True, in obeying the law of Moses, the Israelites 
were moved chiefly by the fear of temporal punishment 
and the hope of temporal reward.^'' But these external 
sanctions were not their only motives. The more pious 
among them no doubt acted from higher considera- 
tions, — love of God, hope of eternal reward, etc. The 
commandments : "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with 
thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy 
whole strength,** ^® and : "Be ye holy, because I the Lord 
your God am holy,'' ^^ were not merely proclaimed, but 
inculcated as the rule of life. The Old Testament even 
anticipated the New by teaching that all men are 
children of God.^® The Mosaic code was by no means 
a law without grace, but a "holy, just, and good law," ^* 
perfectly capable of sanctifying those who observed 

It has become the fashion to speak disparagingly of 
the Ten Commandments. But, as a non-Catholic writer 
justly observes, "one who has studied the history of com- 
parative religions will judge differently. He will per- 
ceive that the Decalogue represents the highest achieve- 
ment in the religious life of the nations before Christ. 
For whereas other lawgivers dealt indiscriminately with 
things big and little, sublime and ridiculous, attributing 

isHcb. XII, 18-24.— St. Augus- 
tine, Contra Adimant., c. 17, n. 2: 
"Haec est brevissima et aperttssima 
differentia duorum testament orum : 
timor et amor; illud ad veterem, hoc 
ad novum hominem pertinet; utrum- 
que tamen unius Dei misericordis- 
sima dispensatione prolatum atque 
coniunctum." (Mignc, P. L., XLII, 
159).— Ph. Kneib, Die "Jenseits- 
moral/' pp. 189 sqq., 204 sqq. 

16 Deut. VI, 5 sqq. 

17 Lev. XIX, 2, 18. 

18 Lev. XI, 44; Deut. X, 16, 19; 
XL I, 13. 22; Xin, 3; XIV, i; 
XXX, 6; Is. LXin, 16; LXIV, 8; 
Mai. I, 6; Eccles. XII, 13; Ecclus. 
II, 20. — Cfr. G. Stemburg, Die 
Ethik des Deuteronomium, Berlin 
1908; M. Wiener, Die Anschauungen 
der Propheten von der Sittlichkeit, 
Berlin 1909. 

19 Rom. Ill, 31; VII, 12. — Cfr. 
Prop, Damnat. Quesnelli, prop. 64 
sq. (Denzinger-Bannwart, n. 1414 




equal importance to each, the Decalogue contents itself 
with, laying down the fundamentals of the moral and 
religious life for all times and generations. The Ten 
Commandments in their elementary majesty are a genuine 
revelation of the eternal moral order of the universe, 
because they emphasize the unity and spirituality of God, 
ascribe decisive importance to devotion in matters of life 
and worship, enjoin social precepts which are today ad- 
mitted by all, and demand purity of intention and pur- 

" 20 


Another Protestant author says: "Ancient Babylonia 
was no doubt the center from which cultural influences 
radiated in every direction ; but religion, which is the su- 
preme achievement of all true culture, has its classic litera- 
ture in the Bible." ^i 

Despite vociferous assertions to the contrary, no true 
equivalent of the Decalogue or of any considerable portion 
thereof has been discovered among the literary remains 
of ancient Babylonia. The resemblances traceable be- 
tween the Mosaic law and the code of Hammurapi are 
mainly juridical; ethically, the former is beyond compari- 
son superior to the latter.^^ 

II. The New Testament. — The moral law of 
the New Testament {lex nova sive evangelica) is 
the purest and most perfect expression of the 
divine will. It is pre-eminently the law because 
its Author, who is none other than our Lord and 

20 K. Furrer in the Theologische 
Literaturzeitung, Leipsic 1902, p. 

21 E. Konig, Bihel und Babel, 3rd 
ed., Berlin 1902, p. 51. 

22 Cfr. H. Pope, O.P., The Catho- 

lic Student's "Aids" to the Bible, 
London 1913, pp. 33 sq. — M. Seisen- 
berger, Practical Handbook for the 
Study of the Bible, New York 191 1, 
pp. 272 sq. 




Saviour Jesus Christ, is "the truth, the way, and 
the life/' St. Paul says : "The law of the spirit 
of life, in Christ Jesus, hath delivered me from 
the law of sin and death/' ^^ 

a) The superiority of the New as compared 
with the Old Law appears from its quadruple 
character as («) a new law, (P) a law of the 
spirit, (y) a law of grace' and liberty, and (^) 
a law of love. 

a) As a new law, the Gospel effects moral re- 
generation and conversion ; 

)5) As a law of the spirit, it raises men above 
the material and animates them with the life 
of faith; 

y) As a law of grace and liberty, it bestows 
divine grace, by which man is enabled to break 
the bonds of sin and to enjoy the prerogatives of 
the children of God; 

8) As a law of love, its motive, content, and 
fulfilment is charity, which is identical with God 

23 Rom. VIII, 2 ; cfr. Jas. I, 25 ; 

II, 12; John I, 17. 

24 Rom. Ill, 27; VIII, 2; cfr. Jas. 
I, 25; II, 12; Matth. V, 17-47; 
XXII, 37-40; John XIII, 34-35; Col. 

III, 14. — St Augustine, De Spiritu 
et Lit., c. 24, n. 41: "Sicut lex 
factorum scripta in tabuHs lapideis 
tnercesque eius terra ilia promissi- 
onis, quant carnalis domus Israel, 
quum ex Aegypto liberata esset, ac- 
cepit, pertinet ad Testamentum Ve- 


tus, ita lex fidei scripta in cordibus 
tnercesque eius species contempla- 
tionis, quam spiritualis domus Israel 
ab hoc mundo liberata percipiet, per 
tinet ad Testamentum Novum. 
(Migne, P. L., XLIV, 225).— St 
Jerome, Epist., 128 (a/. 12), n. i, 
speaks of the "maiestas evangelxi, 
ad cuius fulgura omnis mortalium 
sensus hebetatur.*' (P. L., XXII, 



b) Being absolutely perfect and incapable of 
change or improvement, the moral law of the 
Gospel {testamentum aeternum) binds all men to 
whom it becomes known, and will remain in force 
forever.^* The Montanists and the Joachists, 
who asserted that the New Testament would 
eventually be superseded by a higher law, — that 
of the Holy Ghost,^^ — were condemned by the* 
Church.^'' The more recent theories of the in- 
definite perfectibility of human reason and the 
coming of a so-called Johannine age are clearly 

As regards the relationship between the posi- 
tive divine law and the moral law of nature it will 
be sufficient to observe that the former was given 
*'in support of" the latter,^^ — materially to com- 
plete, and formally to spiritualize and animate it, 
and at the same time to enable those for whom 

26 Matth. V, 17-18; XXVIII, 19- 
20; 2 Cor. Ill, 11; 2 Tim. II, i; 
III, 14. 

20 In opposition to all the Fathers, 
who held dogma and morality to be 
absolutely complete since Christ, 
Tertullian, after his apostasy, de- 
clared that Christian ethics stood in 
need of further perfectioning. Thus 
he writes, De Virg. Velandis, c. i: 
*'Regula quidem fidei una omnino est, 
sola immobUis et irreformabilis. 
. . . Hac lege fidei manente caetera 
iam disciplinae et conversationis ad- 
mittunt novitatem correctionis.'* 
(Ed. Leopold, P. 2, 201). — On Joa- 
chim of Flora see Stockl, Geschichte 
der Philosophie des Mittelalters, Vol. 

I, pp. 288 sq.; E. G. Gardner, in the 
Cath. Encyclopedia, Vol. VIII, pp. 
406 sq.; P. Fournier, Etudes sur 
Joachim de Flore et ses Doctrines, 
Paris 1909. 

27 Cone. Lat. IV., c. 2.— Cfr. the 
decree "Lamentabili" of the S. C. 
of the Holy Office, July 3, 1907, n. 
21 (Denzinger-Bannwart, n. 431 sqq., 
2021). — F. Heiner, Der neue Sylla- 
bus Pius* X., 2nd ed., Mayence 1908, 
pp. 104 sqq. 

28 Cfr. the Syllabus of Pius IX, 
prop. 56 (Denzinger-Bannwart, n. 
1705 sq.). 

29 Constitut. Apostol., VI, c. 19 
(Funk, Didascalia, Vol. I, Padcr- 
born 1 90s, p. 347). 



the natural law was intended, to observe it to its 
full extent.^^ 

Readings.— St. Thomas, Summa TheoL, la 2ae, qu. 98-108.— 
St. Bonaventure, Comment, in Sent, III, dist. 40 (Opera Omnia, 
Vol. Ill, pp. 883 sqq. ).--Suarez, De Legihus, IX-X (Opera Omnia, 
Vol. VI, pp. 419 sqq.).~Chr. Pesch, SJ., Praelectiones Dog- 
mattcae, Vol. V, 4th ed, Freiburg I9i6.-Th. Slater, S.J., A Manual 
of Moral Theology, Vol. I. pp. 118 sqq.-F. P. Kenrick, Theologia 
^oralis. Vol. I, Malines i860, pp. 38 sqq.-A. Sweens, Theologia 
Moralis Fundamentalis, 2nd ed., Haaren 1910, pp. 143 sqq.— A. 
Tanquerey, Synopsis Theologiae Moralis, 2nd ed., Toiirnai 1905, 
pp. 123 sqq.— A. Lehmkuhl, S.J., Theologia Moralis, Vol. I, nth 
cd., pp. 170 sqq. 

SOCfr. Rom. I, i6; i Cor. I, i8. 
— St. Augustine, Enarr. in Ps., ii8. 
i. 25. n. 4: "Lege dwind naturalis 
ilia [lexl sive instaurata sive aucta 
sive firmata est." (Migne. P. L„ 
XXXVII, 1574). — On the objectMns 

raised against the ethical teaching of 
Christianity sec W. Schneider, Gott- 
licke Weltordnung, ^nd ed., pp. 490 
sqq.; J. Mausbach, Catholic Moral 
Teaching and its Antagonists, New 
York 1 9 14. 



I. The existence of a moral law in the New 
Testament seems to be contradicted by St. Paul 
and St. John. 

a) St. Paul declares that the commandment 
which was ordained to life, was ''found to be unto 
death" ; that man does not owe his liberty to the 
law, and that Christians walk not according to 
the law but in the spirit of life in Christ Jesus.^ 
In the same Epistle (to the Romans) he says that 
''the end of the law is Christ'' ' and, "after the 
faith is come,'' the operation of the law, as a peda- 
gogue, i. e., a precursor of the Messias, ceases.^ 
St. John extols the grace and truth of the Gos- 
pel in opposition to the law of Moses. "The law 
was given by Moses,'' he says, "grace and truth 
came by Jesus Christ"* The Epistle to the 
Hebrews speaks of "a setting aside of the former 
commandment" as a thing "which decay eth and 
groweth old" and "is near its end." ^ It is well 
known that St. Paul did not deem it necessary for 

iRom. VII. 5-25; VIII, 1-8. 

a Rom. X, 4; cfr. Gal. II 16 sqq. 

S Gal. Ill, 24-29; IV, 4-7. 

4 John I, 17. 

6Heb. VII, 18; VIII, 13. 




pagan converts to assume the yoke of the Mosaic 

b) The texts quoted, however, and others like 
them, are not meant to abrogate the entire law of 
the Old Testament, but merely its ceremonial pre- 
cepts, as may be seen from the following con- 

«) Christ, who had been hailed as the Law- 
giver par excellence by the prophet Isaias,' issued 
precepts and enjoined His Apostles to enforce 
them upon all men.® 

P) The New Testament expressly acknowl- 
edges and confirms the fundamental laws of 
the Mosaic code, particularly that of charity and 
holiness, and enforces certain commandments of 
the Decalogue.® 

y) St. James expressly designates the New 
Testament as ^'a perfect law/' ^'^ St. Paul calls 
it "the law of faith," '^ ^Ue law of the spirit of 
hfe," ^2 and "the law of Christ." '^ To the ques- 
tion, "Do we, then, destroy the law through 
faith?" he replies, "God forbid: but we estab- 
lish the law." '* 

^) Christ and His Apostles repeatedly affirm 

• Acts XV, 10 sq., 19 sq., ^8 sq.; 
Gal. II, 3-10. 

7 Is. XXXIII, 22. 

SMatth. V, 17; XI, aSsqq.; XIX, 
17 sqq.; XXVIII, 18 sqq.; John 
XII, 49 sq.; XIII, 34; XIV, is; 
XV. 10. 

»Matth. XXII. 34-40; XIX, 18- 

19; Rom. Xm, 9: Eph. VI, a »q.; 
X Pet. I, IS sq. 
lojas. I, 2s; II. 12. 

11 Rom. III. 27. 

12 Kom. VIII. 2, 
18 Gal. VI. 2. 

14 Rom. III. 31. 


that ''the doers of the law shall be justified," not, 
however, those who merely hear it.^*^ 

The moral law of the New Testament is not a 
law in the ordinary sense of the term, but only in 
so far as it contains and inculcates the precepts 
of goodness and sanctity. In other words, the 
Gospel is not a formal code of laws; it merely 
lays down general truths and principles, from 
which the rules of right living can be deduced. 
Such general truths and principles are, e. g., con- 
tained in the Sermon on the Mount,'" the descrip- 
tion of the Last Judgment,'" and the parables of 
the Gospel.'® Even when Christ expressly enun- 
ciates moral principles, He does not clothe them 
in the form of specific precepts, but employs gen- 
eral terms, which require to be interpreted and 


The Christian religion, therefore, is a Uw, and 
inasmuch as it is good and holy,— truth in respect 
of the intellect and holiness in respect of the 
will,^^— and is confirmed by the conscience and 

iBMatth. VII, 21; Rom. II, 13; 
Jas. I, 22. 

16 Matth. V. I sqq. to VII, i sqq. 

17 Matth. XXV, 31 sqq. 

18 Cfr. L. Fonck, S.J., The Para- 
bles of the Gospel, New York 1915; 
W. Barry, art. "Parables" in the 
Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. XI, pp. 
460 sqq. 

19 Cfr. Matth. V, 29 sq., 39 8Q<1-; 
XIX, 29; Luke VI, 29 sq.— St. Jer- 
ome. In Matth., Ill, c. 19: "Ex 
occasione huius sententiae quidam 

introducunt mille annos post resur- 
rectionem, dicentes tunc nobis cen- 
tuplum omnium rerum, quas dimi- 
simus, et intam aeternam esse red- 
dendam: non intellegentes, quod si 
in caeteris digna sit repromissio, in 
uxoribus appareat turpitudo, ut qui 
unam pro Domino dimiserit, cen- 
tum recipiat in futuro." (Migne, 
P. L.. XXVI, 130). 

20 Rom. VII. 12; I Tim. I, 8.— Al- 
ready in the Old Testament the law 
was called chokma, i. e., ethical wis- 

i< I 



conviction of the irnier man," grace does not 
abrogate, but reaffirms it and gives it additional 
force. ^* 

2. The Catholic teaching just explained is de- 
nied by the Protestant "Reformers" and by a cer- 
tain group of mystics, who claim that the Gospel 
has no legal character. 

a) The so-called Reformers hold Gospel to be 
synonymous with liberty and contend that under 
the New Dispensation the law completely lost its 
original character and was no longer a compul- 
sory measure, because sin, for the sake of which 
It had originally been given, was destroyed by the 
atonement, and man restored to full liberty ; that 
whereas Moses was a lawgiver, Christ came 
solely for the purpose of reconciling men with 
God and redeeming them from sin. Against this 
teaching the Council of Trent defines : "If any- 
one saith that Jesus Christ was given by God to 
men as a Redeemer in whom to trust, and not also 
as a legislator whom to obey, let him be anath- 

«1 oo 


" 23 

The error thus condemned is based upon a one- 
sided view of the Scriptures and involves a mis- 

dom. Cfr. H. Zschokke, Der dog- 
matisch-ethische Lehrgehalt der alt- 
testamentlichen Weisheitsbucher, Vi- 
enna 1889. 

21 Rom. VI, 2-6; VI, 16-22; Gal. 
II, 13 sq. 

22 Cfr. B. Bartmann, 5"*. Paulus 

und St. Jakobus, Freiburg 1897, PP. 
34 sqq., 80 sqq., 124 sqq. 

23 Sess. VI, can. 21 : "Si quis di- 
xerit, Christum lesum a Deo homu 
nibus datum fuisse ut redemptorem, 
cut fidant, non etiam ut legislatorem, 
cui obediant, anathema sit." 


conception of the moral requisite of the Redemp- 
tion. The New Testament abrogated the cere- 
monial and judicial code, but not the moral law of 
nature. Nor is every man justified and raised to 
the liberty of the children of God by the fact of 
Christ's death. Humanity was reconciled to God 
by the atonement, but individual justification, as 
Dr. Pohle says, '4s wrought by the application to 
the soul of grace derived from the inexhaustible 
merits of Jesus Christ." ^^ Finally, it is false to 
assert that liberty and law are absolutely incom- 
patible. Christian liberty means order in con- 
formity with the law of God, not license. ''We 
are not the children of the bondwoman, but of the 
free: by the freedom wherewith Christ made us 
free." ^^ "Make not liberty an occasion to the 
flesh, but by charity of the spirit serve one an- 
other." ^* "For so is the will of God, that by 
doing well you may put to silence the ignorance 
of foolish men : as free, and not as making liberty 
a cloak for malice, but as the servants of God." ^^ 
It has been aptly said that the commandments 
of God are like iron chains that weigh heavily 
upon us if we fear Him, but like a silken harness 
that sits lightly on the soul if we love him. 


24 Pohle-Preuss, Grace, Actual and 
Habitual, 2nd ed., p. 2. 
26 Gal. IV, 31. 

26 Gal. V, 13. 

27 I Pet. II, 16; 2 Cor. Ill, 17. 
^Cfr. J. Weiss, Die christUche 

Freiheit nach der Verkiindigung des 
Apostels Paulus, Gottingen 1902, pp. 
7 sqq.; J. MacRory, The Epistles of 
St, Paul to the Corinthians, Dublin 
191 5, Part II, pp. 42 sq. 



Luther claims that Christ abrogated not only the Old 
Law but the Ten Commandments as well, and that con- 
cupiscence has such power over man that he cannot ob- 
serve them.28 This teaching is directly opposed to Revela- 
tion. Gen. IV, 7: "The lust thereof [i. e. sin] shall be 
under thee, and thou shalt have dominion over it.''2» 
I Cor. X, 13: *'God . . . will not suffer you to be 
tempted above that which you are able : but will make also 
with temptation issue, that you may be able to bear it." »® 
I Pet. V, 9 : "Whom [the devil] resist ye, strong in faith : 
knowing that the same affliction befalls your brethren who 
are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath 
called us unto his eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after you 
have suffered a little, will himself perfect you, and con- 
firm you, and estaWish you.''*^ James I, 12: "Blessed 
is the man that endureth temptation; for when he hath 
been proved, he shall receive the crown of life, which God 
hath promised to them that love him." ^^ 

The Reformers, particularly Melanchthon and his 
school, were forced by the inevitable consequences of 
their Antinomistic teaching to return to the Catholic con- 
ception of the New Testament. In practice, however, 
Protestantism is to this day essentially Antinomian, hold- 
ing faith to be the only necessary requirement for salva- 

28Cfr. H Dcniflc, O.P., LuXher 
and Luther dom. Vol. I, Part i, Som- 
erset, O., 191 7. 

20 Gen. IV, 7: **Suh te erit ap- 
petitus eius, et tu dominaberis illius." 

80 I Cor. X, 13: "Deus . . . non 
patietur vos tentari supra id, quod 
potesiis, sed faciei etiam cum tenta- 
tione proventum, ut possitis susti- 
nere." — On this passage cfr. Mac- 
Rory, The Epistles of St. Paul to 
the Corinthians, I, pp. 143 aq. 

811 Pet. V, 9: "Cui resistite 
fortes in fide: scientes eandem pas- 
sionem ei, quae in mundo est, vestrae 
fraternitati fieri. Deus autem omnis 
gratiae, qui vocavit nos in aeternam 
suam gloriam in Christo lesu, modi- 
cum passos ipse perficiet, conHrma- 
hit, solidahitque." 

82 lac. I, 12: "Beatus vir, qui 
suffert tentationem: quoniam quum 
Probatus fuerit, accipiet coronam 
vitae, quam repromisit Deus diligen- 
fihus 4^/ 



'It is not always an easy matter," says Dr. Aveling, *'to 
determine with any degree of precision how far certain 
forms and offshoots of Calvinism, Socinianism, or even 
Lutheranism, may not be susceptible of Antinomian inter- 
pretations; while at the 'same time it must be remembered 
that many sects and individuals holding opinions dubi- 
ously, or even indubitably, of an Antinomian nature, 
would indignantly repudiate any direct charge of teaching 
that evil works and immoral actions are no sins in the 
case of justified Christians. The shades and gradations 
of heresy here merge insensibly the one into the other. 
To say that a Christian cannot sin because he is jus- 
tified is very much the same thing as to state that no ac- 
tion, whether sinful in itself or not, can be imputed to the 
justified Christian as a sin. Nor is the doctrine that good 
works do not help in promoting the sanctification of an in- 
dividual far removed from the teaching that evil deeds do 
not interfere with it. There is a certain logical nexus be- 
tween these three forms of the Protestant doctrine of jus- 
tification that would seem to have its natural outcome in 
the assertion of Antinomianism. The only doctrine that 
is conclusively and officially opposed to this heresy, as well 
as to those forms of the doctrine of justification by faith 
alone that are so closely connected with it, is to be found 
in the Catholic dogma of faith, justification, and sanctifi- 
cation.'' «» 

b) The pseudo-mystics to whom wre have al- 
luded, claim that it is useless for man to obey 
the law once he has outgrown the need of disci- 
pline, and that, consequently, God intended the 
law for the sinner, not for the perfect Christian. 

83 F. Aveling in the Cath. Encyclopedia^ Vol. I, p. 567. 






This theory grossly distorts the teaching of St. 
Paul,^* and, aside from its false postulate that the 
interior state of the soul alone determines man's 
moral standing, is heretical. The Tridentine 
Council defines: 'Tf anyone saith that the man 
who is justified, and how perfect soever, is not 
bound to observe the commandments of God and 
of the Church, but only to believe : as if indeed the 
Gospel were a bare and absolute promise of eter- 
nal life, without the condition of observing the 
commandments; let him be anathema." ^^ No 
man can become so perfect as to be entirely dis- 
pensed from obeying the law of God.^® If any- 
one believes that he has attained to such a degree 
of perfection, he lacks humility and egregiously 
deceives himself. Furthermore, every man is a 
member of society, and as such subject to the 
laws that govern the social order. 

84Cfr. I Tim., I, 8 sqq.: "We 
know that the law is good, if a man 
use it lawfully: knowing this, that 
the law is not made for the just man, 
but for the unjust and disobedient, 
for the ungodly, and for sinners, for 
the wicked and defiled, for murderers 
of fathers, and murderers of moth- 
ers, for manslayers,'* etc. — Cfr. St. 
Justin Martyr, De Resurrect., c. i: 
6 TTJs dXrjdelai \6yos eariy iXcv- 
Bepds T€ Kal avrc^ovffios (ed. Otto, 
Vol. Ill, 3rd ed., p. 210). — Tracta- 
tus Origenis (?) De Libris SS. 
Script., ed. P. Batiffol, Paris 1900, 
p. 197: "Nescit quidquam timer e 
Christiana libertas/' — St. Augustine, 
Epist., 127 (al. 45), n. 5: "Haec 
est una sarcina liugum Domini], qua 

eius baiulus non premitur, sed leva- 
tur." (Migne, P. L., XXXIII, 485). 

35 Sess. VI, can. 20: "Si quis 
hominem iustificatum, et quantum li- 
bet perfectum, dixerit non teneri ad 
observantiam mandatorum Dei et 
Ecclesiae, sed tantum ad credendum, 
quasi vero Evangelium sit nuda et 
absoluta promissio vitae aeternae sine 
conditione observationis mandatorum, 
anathema sit.'* (Cfr. Sess. VI, can. 
19; Sess. VII, De Bapt., can. 7 sq.) ; 
Prop. Damnat. M. de Molinos, n. 
33-3S» 40. 59 sq., 66-68 (Denzinger- 
Bannwart, n. 1253 sqq., 1260, 1279 
sq., 1286 sqq.) 

36 Cfr. I Cor. X, 12; PhU. Ill, 


The pseudo-mystic tendency with which we are dealing 
has almost invariably led to libertinism in practice.^^ 

"The end of the law/' says St. Paul, "is Christ, unto 
justice to every one that beheveth.'' ^^ And again: 
"Love therefore is the fulfilHng of the law."^« And: 
"Now the end of the commandment is charity from a pure 
heart, and a good conscience, and an unfeigned faith." *® 
The commandments are one and all directed towards, 
and converge in love, as "the fulfilling of the law," 
for "the law leads to faith, faith obtains the Holy Ghost 
who pours forth love, and love fulfills the law." *^ Not 
by his own power, therefore, but by the aid of charity 
alone can man observe the law perfectly, and charity 
makes easy the fulfilment of all other commandments, 
even the most difficult of them, — self-denial.*^ There- 

87 See the history of the Lollards, 
Beghards, and Beguins. 
38 Rom. X, 4. 
89 Rom. XIII, 10. 

40 1 Tim. I, 5. — Cfr. St. Augus- 
tine, Tract, in loa., XVII, n. 9: 
^'Lex ergo Christi caritas est." 
(Migne, P. L., XXXV, 1532). See 
J. E. Belser, Die Briefe des Apo- 
stels Paulus an Timotheus und Titus, 
Freiburg 1907, pp. 30 sqq. 

41 St. Augustine, Enchiridion, c. 
121: "Omnia praecepta divina refe- 
runtur ad cariiatem, de qua dicit 
Apostolus: Finis autem praecepti est 
caritas de corde puro et conscientia 
bona et fide non ficta (/ Tim. I, 5). 
Omnis itaque praecepti finis est carv- 
tas, id est, ad caritatem refertur 
omne praeceptum," (Migne, P. L., 
XL, 288). — Idem, Enarr. in Ps., 141* 
n. 7: "Semitae dictae sunt Dei, 
quia multa praecepta sunt, et quia 
eadem multa praecepta ad unum redi- 
guntur, quia plenitudo legls caritas 
{Rom, III, 16) y propterea viae istae 
in multis praeceptis ad unam colli- 

guntur, et una dicitur, quia via 
nostra caritas est.'* (Migne, P, L., 

XXXVII, 1837).— Idem. Epist., 145 
(a/. 144), n. 3: "Lex docendo et 
iubendo quod sine gratia impleri non 
potest, homini demonstrat suam in- 
firmitatem, ut quaerat demonstrata in- 
Urmitas Salvatorem, a quo sanata 
voluntas possit, quod infirma non 
posset. Lex igitur adducit ad fidem, 
ades xmpetrat Spiritum largiorem 
[largitorem], diffundit Spiritus cari- 
tatem, implet caritas legem," (P. L., 
XXXIII, 593). 

42 St. Augustine, De Natura et 
Gratia, c. 69, n. 83: "Omnia Hunt 
facilia caritate." (Migne, P. L., 
XLIV, 289). — Idem, Serm,, 96 (o/. 
47 de Diversis), n. i: "Durum vide- 
tur et grave, quod Dominus xmpera- 
vit, ut si quis eum vult sequi, abne- 
get seipsum. Sed non est durum nee 
grave, quod ille imperat, qui adiuvat, 
ut Hat, quod imperat. . . . Quidquid 
enim durum est In praeceptis, ut sit 
leve, caritas facit." (Migne, P. L., 

XXXVIII, 384).— Idem, Enarrat. in 




fore the law is "for the unjust and disobedient, for the 
ungodly, and for sinners," *' i. e., for those who acknowl- 
edge no authority and give free rein to their passions. 
They shall learn through the law that they are living in 
sin and must prepare for penitence. For **the just man,*' 
on the other hand, into whose heart the Holy Ghost has 
poured that charity which is the fulfilment of the law, 
"the law is not*'; not as if the justified sinner were not 
subject, or could afford to be indifferent, to the law, but 
because he "uses it lawfully," i. e., in conformity with his 
rational nature and the will of God, in other words, be- 
cause he obeys the law for conscience' sake.** 

Readings.— H. Jakoby, Neutestamentliche Ethik, Konigsberg 
1899.— J. Weiss, Die christliche Freiheit nach der VerkUndigung 
des Apostels Paulus, Gottingen 1902.— Th. Slater, SJ., in the 
Cath. Encyclopedia, Vol. IX, pp. 71 sq.— Chr. Pesch, SJ., Praelec- 
tiones Dogmaticae, Vol. V.— Ph. Bachmann, Die Sittenlehre Jesu, 
Leipsic 1904.— F. P. Kenrick, Theologia Moralis, Vol. I, 2nd ed., 
pp. 41 sqq.— A. Tanquerey, S.S., Synopsis Theologiae Moralis, 
Vol. II, pp. 140 sqq.— C. S. Devas, The Key to the World's 
Progress, London 1906, pp. 189 sqq. 

Ps., 67, n. 18: "Quidquid diMcile 
est in praecepto, leve est amanti. 
Nee oh aliud recte intellegitur die- 
turn, 'onus meum leve est* (Matth. 
XI, 30), nisi quia {Deus} dat Spi- 
ritum Sanctum, per quern diffundi- 
tut caritas in cordibus nostris (Rom, 
y, 5). «* amando liheraliter facia- 
mus, quod timendo qui facit, servili' 

ter facit^ nee est amicus recti, 
quando mallet, si fieri posset, id 
quod rectum est non iuberi." (P. 
L., XXXVI. 823).— Cfr. H. Denifle, 
Luther and Lutherdom, Vol. I, Part 


48 I Tim. I, 9. 
44 X Tim. I, S-io. 



I. To collect and digest the precepts of the 
natural as well as those of positive divine law is 
the business of human authority, which is partly 
ecclesiastical and partly civil. 

A human law may be defined as a rule of con- 
duct made for the common good and properly 
promulgated by legitimate authority.^ A human 
law may be merely a more definite statement of 
the principles contained in the natural or positive 
divine law (determinatio principiorum) , or it may 
embody a deduction from those principles {con- 
clusio ex principiis). St. Thomas explains this 
distinction with his wonted lucidity as follows: 
"There are two modes of derivation from the law 
of nature. Some enactments are derived by way 
of conclusion from the common principles of the 
law; as the prohibition of killing may be derived 
from the prohibition of doing harm to any man. 
Other enactments are derived by way of deter- 
mination of what was in the vague. For in- 

1 St. Thomas. Summa Theol, la dinatio ad bonum commune et ab eo 
2ae, qu. 90. art. 4: "Lex nihil ali- qui curam communitatis habet, pro- 
ud est quam quaedam rationis or- mulgata" 





stance, the law of nature ordains that he who does 
wrong should be punished ; but that he should re- 
ceive this or that punishment is a determination 
of the law. Both sorts of enactment are found in 
human law. However, the former are not mere 
legal enactments, but have some force also of nat- 
ural law. The latter have force of human law 
only." ^ That man should fast is clearly pre- 
scribed by the law of nature and by positive divine 
law ; but the time and manner of fasting is deter- 
mined by the Church.^ 

Human law, therefore, is in every respect sub- 
ordinate to the natural and to positive divine 
law, and its precepts have binding force only if 
they agree with both.^ 

2. Pointing to such texts as James IV, 12, 
"There is one lawgiver,"^ some authors assert 
that no man has a right to make laws for his 
f ellowmen. But Christ expressly bestowed legis- 
lative power on His Church,^ and furthermore 

2 Summa TheoL, la 2ae, qu. 95, 
art. 2 (Rickaby, Aquinas Ethicus, 
Vol. I, p. 288). 

8 Cfr. St. Augustine, Epist, 36 
(a/. 86), c. II, n. 25: "Ego in 
evangelicis et apostolicis Uteris toto- 
que instrumento, quod appellatur 
Testamentum Novum, animo id re- 
volvins, video praeceptum esse ietu- 
nium, Quibus autem diebus non 
oporteat ieiunare et quibus oporteat, 
praecepto Domini vel Apostolorum 
non invenio definitum." (Migne, 
P. L., XXXni, 147).— Cfr. St 

Thomas, Summa TheoL, 2a 2ae, qu. 
147, art. 3. 

4 Cfr. St. Thomas, Summa TheoL, 
la 2ae, qu. 95, art. 2.— The Syllabus 
of Pius IX condemns this proposition 

(no. 57): "Philosophicarum rerum 
morumque scientia itemque ci7>Ues 
leges possunt et debent a divina et 
ecclesiastica auctoritate declinare.'* 
(Denzinger-Bannwart, n. 1757). 

5 Jac. IV. 12: els d vofioOeTTii. 
6Matth. XVI, 19; XVIII, 17; 

Luke X, 16. 




Himself acknowledged the laws of the State and 
exhorted His disciples to obey them.*^ St. Paul 
says that all power is from God and that the ordi- 
nances of legitimate authority bind in conscience.^ 

Broadly speaking, both the natural and the 
positive divine law consist of general principles, 
which have to be interpreted and applied to con- 
crete conditions by human authority. The fact 
that human authority adds precepts of its own to 
those given by God, proves nothing against St. 
James' statement that God is the ''one lawgiver," 
because human lawgivers act in His name and by 
His authority. Thus every human law is me- 
diately and by derivation a divine law. Christ, in 
censuring human laws, did not deny the legisla- 
tive power of the Synagogue, but protested 
against the making of such human ordinances as 
conflicted with the natural and the positive divine 
law, and incidentally condemned the quibbling of 
the Pharisees.^ Nor do human (particularly ec- 
clesiastical) laws encroach upon the freedom of 
the Gospel. On the contrary, they are a means 
of that discipline which makes man free, a guide 
for the individual, and an essential requisite for 
the welfare of society. 

Note that the laws of the Church as a rule do 

7 Luke XX, 25; Acts XV, 28; XX, 9 Matth. XV, 9; XXIII, 3 sqq-, 16 
28. sqq. 

8 Rom. XIII I sqq. ; cfr. John 






not mark the acme of perfection, but merely the 
bare minimum of what is absolutely required for 

3. Like the Church, civil society or the State is 
divinely instituted. God created man as a social 
being. The desire for intercourse and coopera- 
tion vi^ith his f ellowmen is ingrained in his very 
nature. ^^ The State is organized society. 
Whatever the form of organization, authority is 
necessary to make and execute laws, and this 
authority is always derived from God. Every 
ruler exercises his power directly or indirectly by 
the grace of God, *'for there is no power but from 
God, and those that are, are ordained of God." ^^ 

The purpose of civil authority is to regulate the 
social affairs of men, to settle their differences, 
and, in general, to advance their temporal wel- 
fare. ''Suprema lex salus publica/' 

"There are two sharply distinct societies ruled by dif- 
ferent supreme powers with different aims and means. 
Both derive their origin from God, but in a different way : 
the supreme authority of the one [the Church] was im- 
mediately instituted by Him and its form once for all 

10 Cfr. Gen. II, 20-24. 

11 Rom. XIII, I ; cfr. Prov. VIII, 
15-16; Wisd. VI, 3-4; I Pet. II, 
13-17. — Cfr. St. Augustine, De Di- 
vers. Quaest., 83, qu. 69, n. 4- 
"Notum sit omnibus, nullum prin- 
cipium et potestatem sive caelestium 
sive terrestrium per se habuisse ali- 
quid principatus et potestatis, sed ah 

illo, ex quo sunt omnia, non solum ut 
sint, verum etiam ut ordinata sint/* 
(Migne. P. L., XL, 76).— Cfr. Leo 
XIII's Encyclical "Immortale Dei," 
Nov. 1, 1885 (Denzinger-Bannwart, 
n. 1866 sqq.). On the origin and 
extent of civil authority see Jos. 
Rickaby, S.J., Political and Moral 
Essays, London 1902, pp. 1-174. 


determined as universal and constant; the supreme 
authority of the other [the State] is from God also, but 
through the will of the people, who give it its form and 
determine its specific duties. This latter power is neither 
universal nor constant, but subject to the vicissitudes of 
human society." ^^ 

Readings. — St. Thomas, Summa Theol, la 2ae, qu. 95-97- — 
Suarez, De Legibus, III-VIII (Opera Omnia, Vol. V, pp. i75 
sqq.; Vol. VI, pp. i sqq.)— V. Cathrein, S.J., Moralphilosophie, 
Vol. I, 4th ed., pp. 406 sqq.— Th. Slater, S.J., A Manual of Moral 
Theology, Vol. I, pp. 119 sqq.— R. I. Holaind, S.J., Natural Law 
and Legal Practice, pp. 315 sqq.— A. Tanquerey, S.S., Synopsis 
Theologiae Moralis, Vol. II, pp. 147 sqq.— A. Sweens, Theologia 
M oralis Fundamentalis, 2nd ed., pp. 151 sqq. 

X2 Bonomelli-Holzer, Die Kirche, Freiburg 1905, p. 369. 





A human law is an ordinance made by a human 
legislator as a general and just rule for the benefit 
of his subjects, and properly promulgated/ This 
definition embraces all the requisites of a true 
law, both material and formal.^ 

I. A law is general if it is equally binding upon 
all members of the community for which it is 

A law is practicable if what it demands is 
morally possible for ordinary men to fulfil. 

A law is just if it does not contravene any 
other legitimate enactment of a higher authority. 

A law is useful if it advances the good of the 

1 St Thomas, Summa Theol., la 
2ae, qu. 90, art. 4 (v. supra p. iS5» 
note i). 

2 Cfr. St, Isidore, Etymol., V, c. 
21: "Erit lex honesta, iusta, possi- 
bilis, secundum naturam, 'secundum 
consuetudinem patriae, loco tempori- 
que conveniens, necessaria, utilis, 
manifesta quoque, ne aliquid per oh- 
scuritatem in captione contineat, 
nullo privato commodo, sed pro com- 
muni civium utilitate conscripta," 

(Migne, P. L., LXXXII, 203). 
Cited in the Decretum Gratiani^ c. 
2, D. 4; c. 5, D. I (ed. Friedberg, 
Leipsic 1879, Vol. I, pp. 6 and i). 

8 Cfr. Regulae luris in VI Decret, 
Bonif. VIII, n. 6: *'Nemo potest 
ad impossibile obligari.'* (Corpus 
luris Canonici, ed. Friedberg, Vol. 
II, Leipsic 1881, p. 1122). — Cone, 
Trident., Sess. VI, c. 11; Prop, 
Damnat. lansenii, prop, i (Denzin* 
ger-6annwart, n. 1092). 







whole community or at least does not hinder the 
welfare of the majority or injure that of the 


In case of doubt the presumption is always in 
favor of the law. If those for whom a law is 
made, believe it has serious defects, they are free 
to petition or agitate for its repeal ; but as long 
as the law is in force, — ^provided, of course, it is 
not manifestly opposed to religion or morality or 
declared to be invalid by the proper authority,— 
it remains binding. 

2. Formally, a law, to be valid, must proceed 
from legitimate authority and be duly promul- 
gated. By promulgation is meant the executive 
act by which a law is brought to the notice of the 
public and consequently put into force. No law 
is binding until it has been promulgated. Pro- 
mulgation differs from knowledge of a law, which 
is merely a subjective requisite of accountability. 
No one is formally guilty of violating a law unless 
he is aware of its existence. 

When it is uncertain or doubtful whether a law 
has been promulgated, there is no obligation to 
obey it, because in such circumstances the will of 
the legislator is uncertain. 

The form or manner of promulgation depends on the 
will of the lawmaker. Ecclesiastical laws at the present 
time are officially promulgated through the Acta Apostol- 



1 62 


licae Sedis, a periodical publication appearing at irregu- 
lar intervals in Rome.* 

The laws of the Latin Church at present in force are 
contained in the new Codex luris'Canonici Pii X Ponti- 
•Rcis Maximi iiissu Digestus, BenedicH Papae XV 
Auctoritate Promulgatus, which took effect on Pentecost 
Sunday, 191 8. 

As soon as a law has been properly promulgated, it is 
binding upon those for whom it is intended, no matter 
whether they accept it or not. The reason for this is 
plain. The law-making power is derived from God, not 
from the people. Alexander VII, on Sept. 24, 1665, con- 
demned the proposition that "A people do not sin if with- 
out any cause whatever they refuse to receive a law 
promulgated by their ruler." ^ Only when a law is in- 
dubitably unjust may it be rejected by those for whom it 
was made. In a democratic country the people are in 
duty bound to obey the laws passed by their representa- 

Readings.— E. Taunton, The Law of the Church, London 1906, 
pp. 393 sqq.— A. Van Hove in the Cath. Encyclopedia, Vol. XII, 
p. 454. — Codex Juris Canonici, '*Normae General es,** can. 1-23. — 
Ang. nachofcn, O.S.B., A Commentary on the New Code of 
Canon Law, Vol. I, St. Louis 19 18. 

4 Cfr. the Apostolic Constitution 
"De Promuigatione Legum et Evul- 
gatione Actorum S. Sedis," Oct. 30, 
1908, in the Acta Apostolicae* Sedis, 
Rome 1909, pp. 6 sqq. 

5 "Populus non peccat, etiamsi abs- 
que ulla causa non recipiat legem a 
Principe promulgatam" (Denzinger- 
Bannwart, n. 1120). 




I. Kinds of Obligation. — Every human 
law, ecclesiastical or civil, which has the proper- 
ties described in the preceding section of this 
treatise, binds not only externally, under pain of 
punishment, but also internally, i. e., in the court 
of conscience. This proposition is evident from 
the very nature of things, for the provisions of a 
just law are simply the will of God applied to some 
special condition.' St. Paul says: "Let every 
soul be subject to higher powers : for there is no 
power but from God, and those that are, are or- 
dained of God. Therefore he that resisteth the 
power, resisteth the ordinance of God. . . . 
Wherefore be subject of necessity, not only for 
wrath, but also for conscience' sake. For there- 
fore also " you pay tribute. For they are the 
ministers of God, serving unto this purpose. 
Render therefore to all men their dues: tribute, 
to whom tribute is due, custom, to whom custom ; 
fear, to whom fear; honor, to whom honor." ^ 

1 Cfr. St. Thomas, Summa Theot., 2 dik tovto yhp koX- (Rom. 

la 2ae, qu. 95, art. 2; qu. 96, art. 4. XIII, 6). 

3 Rom. XIII, 1-7. 






« "J 



And St. Peter : ''Be ye subject therefore to every 
human creature for God's sake : whether it be to 
the king as excelling, or to the governors as sent 
by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for 
the praise of the good : for so is the will of God, 
that by doing good you may put to silence the 
ignorance of foolish men: as free, and not as 
making liberty a cloak for malice, but as the ser- 
vants of God." ^ 

"SS. Peter and Paul insisted that men owe obedience to 
civil authority for conscience' sake and by virtue of a 
divine command. This doctrine at that time was utterly 
new in the world. . . . According to Apostolic teaching, 
the ruling power of the State, or public authority, no mat- 
ter what its form or composition, is ordained for the pur- 
pose of administering the divine law on earth. Hence 
every Christian is in duty bound to recognize those con- 
stituted in authority, without regard to their moral or re- 
ligious qualifications, and to obey them for conscience' 
sake, not merely for fear of punishment. All power, civil 
as well as paternal, is from God. Obedience to authority 
is a necessary duty deeply ingrained in the soul of every 

»» 6 

The teaching of Tradition is in perfect har- 
mony with that of Scripture. Thus we read in 
the Epistle to Diognetus: ''Christians differ 
from other men neither in country nor laijiguage 
nor customs. . . . They share all things as citi- 

4 I Pet. n, 13-16. 

6 Dollinger, Christ entum und Kirche, Ratisbon 1868, pp. 14 sq. 



zens. . . . They obey the appointed laws, and 
go beyond the laws in their own lives." ^ Tertul- 
lian writes : ''We venerate in the emperors the 
decisions of God, for God has placed them over 
the nations."*^ St. Augustine says that the 
Christian soldiers of Rome "distinguished be- 
tween their eternal and their temporal lord, and 
obeyed the latter for the sake of the former." ^ 

Hence there can be no doubt that every just 
law obliges in conscience, I e,, under pain of sin 
{sub culpa morali s. theologica). However, not 
all laws bind always and in every case. An af- 
firmative law binds ''always" but not "for al- 
ways" (semper, sed non pro semper, i. e., at every 
moment, in all circumstances), whereas a nega- 
tive law binds "always" and "for always" {sem- 
per et pro semper). Thus a person is not bound 
to profess his faith under all circumstances, but 
he is never allowed to deny it. 

The rule, "Lex positiva obligat semper, sed non pro 
semper/' has one exception: the law of charity, which 
binds always and for all time because the obligation of 
loving and serving God is the foundation of all other pre- 
cepts, negative as well as positive.® 

eEpist. ad Diognet., c. 5 (Lake, 
The Apostolic Fathers, Vol. II, Lon- 
don 1913. PP« 359 sq.). 

7 Apol., c. 32. 

8 Enarrat. in Ps., 124. "• 7- — Many 
other Patristic passages of similar 
tenor will be found collected in F. 

Hamm, Zur Grundlegung und Ge- 
schichte der Steuermoral, Treves 
1908, pp. 138 sqq. 

9 Cfr. J. Ernst, Ueher die Not- 
wendigkeit der guten Meinung, Frei- 
burg 1905* ?• 20"» 




Unjust laws do not bind in conscience because 
they ''are acts of violence rather than laws," as 
St. Thomas says.^^ In regard to the above the 
following principles should be borne in mind: 

a) No one is obliged to obey a precept which 
it is morally impossible for him to fulfill (ultra 
posse nemo tenetur). However, when the whole 
of an obligation cannot be fulfilled, and the matter 
is susceptible of division, we are not excused from 
fulfilling a part. Innocent XI condemned the 
proposition that a priest who is unable to say the 
whole of his daily office is therefore excused from 
saying any portion of it.* * 

b) A law which runs counter to the moral law 
of nature not only does not oblige in conscience/^ 
but must be resisted passively.*^ 

10 Summa Theol., la 2ae, qu. 96, 
art. 4. — Cfr. St. Augustine, De Lib. 
Arbitr., I, c. 5, n. 11: "Mihi lex 
esse non videtur, quae iusta non 
fnerit." (Mignc, P. L., XXXII, 
1227). — Cfr. also the Syllabus of 
Pius IX, prop. 56 and 57 (Denz- 
inger-Bannwart, n. 1756 sq.). V. 
supra. Sect. 3, note 3. 

11 Cfr. the S4th of the proposi- 
tions condemned by Innocent XI: 
"Qui non potest recitare matutinum 
et laudes, potest autem reliquas ho- 
ras, ad nihil tenetur, quia maior pars 
trahit ad se minor em." (Denzin* 
ger-Bannwart, n. 1204). 

12 Cfr. Acts IV, 18-19; V, 29.— 
St. Augustine, Epist., 105, c. 2, n. 
7: "Imperatores si in error e essent, 
quod absit, pro errore suo contra 
veritatem leges darent, per quas iusti 

et probarentur et coronarentur non 
faciendo quod illi iuberent, quia Deus 
Prohiberet. Sicut iusserat Nabucho- 
donosor, ut aurea statua adoraretur ; 
quod qui facere noluerunt, Deo talia 
Prohibenti placuerunt." (Migne, 
P. L., XXXIII, 398).— St. Thomas, 
Summa Theol., la 2ae, qu. 96, art. 
4: "Leges possunt esse iniustae per 
contrarietatem ad bonum dizHnum, 
sicut leges tyrannorum inducentes ad 
idololatriam vel ad quodcunque 
aliud, quod sit contra legem divinam; 
et tales leges nullo modo licet ob- 
servare, quia sicut dicitur Act. V, 29: 
Obedire oportet Deo magis quam. 

18 Cfr. Ph. Hergenrother, Der Ge^ ' 
horsam gegen die weltlicht ObfigkeU^ 
Freiburg 1877. 



Authority, be it civil or ecclesiastical, can never oblige 
a man to commit even a venial sin, for we must obey God 
more than men. Such has always been and always will be 
the teaching of the Church. Wiclif and Hus held that 
no one is obliged to obey a superior if the latter is in the 
state of mortal sin. The Church teaches that one must 
not obey a sinful comnuind}^ When a command is 
clearly contrary to the law of God, obedience would be 

The oft-quoted dictum of Gregory VII, ''Sententia 
pastoris, sive iusta sive iniusta fuent, timenda est," means 
not that an unjust command must be obeyed, but that it 
should not be transgressed lightly and in a spirit of con- 
tempt. The phrase ''ad peccatum obligare/' which is 
found in the constitutions of some religious orders, 
signifies an obligation which binds tmder pain of sin (sub 
peccato), not a command to sin.^* 

^'Active resistance to authority," says a non-Catholic 
writer, "is not absolutely condemned by Christian ethics. 
Those who maintain that it is, are inspired by absolutistic 
notions. When persons in authority are faithless and 
violate the constitution, even a Christian subject is justi- 
fied in resisting them." ^^ 


c) An indubitably unjust lav^ does not bind. 
If, hovs^ever, a lav\^ is just in its object (lex 
honesta), and unjust only in its origin or pur- 
pose, it may be obeyed, provided obedience does 

14 Cfr. Prop. Damnat. Wiclif., n. 
15; Huss., n. 30 (Denzinger-Bann- 
wart, n. 595, 656). 

15 Cfr. St. Thomas, Summa Theol., 
2a 2ae, qu. 104, art. 5, where the 
question, Utrum subditi teneantur 
suis superioribus in omnibus obedire, 
is treated exhaustively. 

16 Cfr. Bishop von Ketteler, Kann 
ein Jesuit von einem Obern zu einer 
SOnde verpflichtet werden? May- 
ence 1874, pp. 10 sqq. ; B. Duhr, SJ., 
Jesuitenfabeln, 4th ed., pp. 515 sqq. 

17 Theologische Literaturseitung, 
Leipsic 1902, p. 617. 


» ' 



not involve the violation of some other moral 
duty. Obedience may even be a strict duty, 
namely, when some higher moral good would be 
jeopardized by disobedience, as in the case of 
public scandal or revolt, provided always that no 
just law is violated. In the words of the An- 
gelic Doctor, *' [unjust] laws are not binding in 
the court of conscience, except perhaps to avoid 
scandal or turmoil, for which cause a man ought 
to abate something of his right. . . ." ^^ 

Laws which imperil higher rights or interests 
may be resisted by all legal means, such as 
remonstrances, appeals, petitions, agitation in the 
public press. To employ illegal means is tanta- 
mount to sedition. No matter what the provo- 
cation, revolution against a legitimate govern- 
ment is forbidden, because revolution by its 
very concept is an attack upon actually existing 
and divinely sanctioned rights. Pius IX sol- 
emnly condemned the proposition that "It is per- 
mitted to withhold obedience from legitimate rul- 
ers, nay even to rebel against them." ^^ 

So far as obligation is concerned, laws may be 
divided into moral, penal, and mixed. 

IS Summa TheoL, la 2ae, qu. 96, 
ad 4: "Dicuntur leges iustae et ex 
fine, quando scilicet ordinantur ad 
honum commune, et ex auctore, 
quando scilicet lex lata non excedit 
potestatem ferentis, et ex forma, 
quando scil secundum aequalitatem 
proportionis imponuntut subditis 

onera in ordine ad honum commune. 
. , . Unde tales [iniustae-^ leges non 
obligant in foro conscientiae , nisi 
forte propter vitandum scandalum 
vel turbationem, propter quod etiam 
homo iuri suo debet cedere, secun- 
dum illud Matth. V, 40-41-" 
10 Syllabus Errorum, n. 63: "Le- 



(i) A moral law (lex moralis) binds in con- 
science and under pain of sin {ad culpam). 

(2) A purely penal law (lex mere sive pure 
poenalis) binds only under pain of suffering the 
penalty imposed for its infraction. 

(3) If a law binds under pain of sin, and, in 
addition, imposes a penalty, it is called mixed 
{lex mixta). 

The Schoolmen teach that if one transgresses 
a purely penal law, he is bound in conscience to 
pay the penalty imposed, but incurs no moral 
guilt {culpa theologica) and therefore commits 
no sin. His transgression is merely a technical 
violation of the law {culpa iuridica). 

As examples of purely penal laws Catholic moralists 
are wont to cite (i) the statutes of certain associations, 
institutes or seminaries, especially the constitutions of 
religious orders which distinguish between the rules of or- 
dinary and those of stricter observance,^® and (2) such 
civil ordinances as regard taxes, permits, licenses, etc. 
Some writers include in the category of leges mere 
poenales police regulations, nay all laws made by "infidel 
or unchristian" States.^^ Scholastic theology as a system 
merely teaches the possibility of purely penal laws; 

gitimis principibus obedientiam de 
trectare, immo et rebellare licet/ 
(Dcnzinger-Bannwart, n. 1763). Cfr 
Fr. Heiner, Der Syllabus, May 
ence 1905, pp. 283 sqq. — Cfr. Rom 
XIII, 2; Sophocles, Antigone, 672 

20 Cfr. St. Thomas, Summa Theol, 
2a 2ae, qu. 186, art. 1-2. 

21 Cfr. K. Wagner, Die sittlichen 
Grundsatse bezUglich der Steuer- 
pHickt, Ratisbon 1906, pp. 50 sqq.; 
A. Muller, Die staatlichen Gesetze 
in ihrer Beziehung zur sittlichen 
Weltordnung, Treves 1906, pp. iz 




whether such laws actually exist is a question in dispute." 
When it is certain that the civil authorities do not intend 
to bind their subjects in conscience, a law may be con- 
sidered penal only. 

2. Degrees of Obligation. — ^Unlike divine 
laws, human laws never bind absolutely. The 
obligation they impose depends in each case pri- 
marily on the will of the lawgiver and second- 
arily on the matter involved. 

a) When the matter is light and trivial {ma- 
teria levis), i. e., when the precept is of no im- 
portance for the common good, either in itself or 
by reason of attendant circumstances, the ob- 
ligation is slight. When, on the other hand, the 
matter is grave (materia gravis), i. e., when the 
law or its object is in itself important or ren- 
dered so by circumstances, the resulting obliga- 
tion is serious. 

b) The intention of the lawgiver may either 
be gathered from the purpose of the law or in- 
ferred from the wording chosen or the penalty 


c) A human law ordinarily does not bind cum 

22 Cfr. Ballerini-Palmieri, 0/>«J 
Theol. Mor., tr. 3 de Leg., n. 107: 
*'Haec est quaestio celeberrima, an 
dentur leges mere poenates. Et re- 
cepta et DD. sententia, eiusmodi 
leges dari posse."— A. Vermeersch, 
SJ., Quaestiones de lustitia, 2nd 
cd., Bruges 1904, P- 134*. "Revera 
in varias ac diversas abiere sen- 
Untiof recentiores auctores; in qua 

opinionum varietate suspicari fas est 
caeli sen regionis inHuxum." — 
Thomas a Kempis says of the rules 
of religious orders: "Duo bona 
praetendit omnis regularis disci- 
plina, ut statuta diligenter serventur 
et neglegentes pro culpis suis cor- 
rigafltut." {De Disciplina Claustra- 
Hum, c. I ; Op, Omnia, ed. Pohl, Vol. 
II, p. 369). 



gravi incommode, and hence may be disregarded 
if its observance involves any serious inconven- 
ience, such as danger. to life and limb, loss of 
honor, health or fortune, etc. The reasons for 
this exemption are: (i) A law, to be binding, 
must be physically and morally capable of fulfil- 
ment; (2) No human legislator has power over 
the life, health, or property of his subjects, unless 
higher interests are at stake. 

In matter of fact, even positive divine laws do 
not bind where life is in danger, ^^ and the Church 
does not enforce even such important precepts as 
the sanctification of the Lord's Day, fasting, or 
the recitation of the Breviary as obligatory on 
those who cannot observe them without grave 

There are, however, circumstances in which 
human laws bind even at the risk of life or 
death, e. g., 

(i) When the common good or the eternal 
salvation of one's fellowmen are involved, as 
often happens in the case of priests and sol- 
diers ; 

(2) When disobedience involves formal con- 
tempt of authority or the danger of grave scan- 

In all such cases a law binds even at the risk of 
life or health, for the reason that the common 

28 Cfr. 1 Kings XXI, 6; Matth. XII, 1-5. 



good (bonum commune) is superior to that of the 

That all men are bound under pain of grievous sin to 
obey the "higher powers," appears from the passage we 
have quoted 2* from St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans. 
This is not, however, tantamount to saying that all human 
laws bind sub gravi. The question whether a human law- 
giver can impose a serious obligation when the matter at 
issue is slight {materia levis), is answered negatively by 
most theologians. The reasons given are two : ( i ) Even 
the divine law binds but slightly in matters of no im- 
portance, and a human lawgiver cannot impose a heavier 
obligation than God, from whom his jurisdiction is de- 
rived; (2) To impose a serious obligation in matters of 
small importance would be contrary to the common good, 
give cause for scandal, and work mischief. 

Note, however, that a matter small in itself may become 
important by virtue of its purpose or outward circum- 
stances, and thus involve a serious obligation. This was 
the case with the command God gave to our first parents 
in Paradise.2^ Though the matter involved was slight, 
the law itself possessed great importance on account of 
the purpose for which it had been given and the severe 
punishment threatened. 

READiNGS.-"Th. Slater, SJ., A Manual of Moral Theology, 
Vol. I, pp. 97 sqq.— Idem in the Cath. Encyclopedia, Vol. XI, pp. 
189 sqq.— A. Sweens, Theologia Moralis Fundamentalist 2nd ed., 
pp. 177 sqq. 

24 Rom, XIII, 1-6 Uupra, p. 163). 26 Gen. II, 16 sq. 



A human law binds all those for whom it is 
made and who are subject to the authority of the 

The laws of the Church oblige only baptized 
persons who have attained the use of reason. 
Theoretically, Protestants, too, are in some man- 
ner subject to the jurisdiction of the Church,^ 
but ''a probable opinion teaches that it is not the 
Church's intention to bind them by such of her 
laws as proximately regard the sanctification of 
individual souls, rather than the public good," be- 
cause "harm rather than good would follow from 
intending these laws to bind heretics and schis- 
matics." ^ 

A general law obliges all who have attained the 
use of reason and are subject to the authority of 
the legislator. AH such, therefore, are in duty 
bound to acquaint themselves with the laws un- 
der which they live. 

1 1 Cor. V, 12-13.— Off. Cone. peror William I, August 7, 1873. 
Trident,, Sess. VII, can. 7-8 de 2 Thos. Slater, S.J., A Handbook 

BapU; letter of Pius IX to Em- of Moral Theology, Vol. I, p. 93- 



A particular law is one made for a limited 
class of persons or for a particular territory 
only. Particular laws of the latter kind bind 
those for whom they are made, who have a domi- 
cile or quasi-domicile in the territory concerned 
and actually reside there. 

To have a domicile means to live in a place for 
ten years or with the intention of residing there 
permanently. A quasi-domicile is acquired by 
living in a place with the intention of remaining 
there for the greater part of a year, or by actu- 
ally residing there for the greater part of a year.^ 

Foreigners (peregrini) are not bound to obey 
the particular laws of either their own country 
or the one in which they are sojourning, with the 
exception of those which regard the public wel- 
fare or prescribe legal formalities.* Strangers 
(vagi, who have no domicile or quasi-domicile 

8 Codex luris Can,, can. 13, 92. 

4 Codex luris Can., can. 14. Cfr. 
St. Augustine, Epist., 36, c. I4f n. 
32: "Indicaho tibi, quid mihi de hoc 
requirenti respondent venerandus 
Ambrosius: Quando hie [Mediolani} 
sum, non ieiuno sabbato; quando 
Romae sum, ieiuno sabbato; et ad 
quamcunque ecclesiam veneritis, in- 
quit, eius morem serrate, si pati 
scandalum non vultis aut facere." 
—Idem, Epist., 54 («^- "8), 
c. 2, n. 2; *'AIia vero, quae per 
loca terrarum regionesque variantur, 
sicuti est, quod alii ieiunant sabbato, 
alii non, alii quotidie communicant 
corpori et sanguini Domini, alii certis 
diebus accipiunt, alibi nullus dies 
pratermittitur, quo non offeratur, ali- 

bi sabbato tantum et dominico, alibi 
tantum dominico, et si quid aliud hu- 
iusmodi animadverti potest, totum 
hoc genus rerum liberas habet obser- 
vationes, nee disciplina ulla est in his 
melior gravi prudentique christiano 
quam ut eo modo agat, quo agere 
viderit ecclesiam, ad quam forte de- 
venerit. Quod enim neque contra 
fidem neque contra bonos mores esse 
convincitur, indifferenter habendum 
et propter eorum, inter quos vivitur 
societatem, servandum est." (Migne, 
P. L., XXXIII, 200). Hence the 
well-known adage: "Si fueris 
Romae, romano vivito more; si fueris 
alibi, vivito sicut ibi." — Cfr. H. Nol- 
din, S.J., Theol. Mor., Vol. I, qu. 
IV, art. I, 5 "4. 5- 



anywhere) are bound to obey the general as well 
as particular laws of the territory in which they 


A journey undertaken in fraud em legis, i. e., 
with the express purpose of escaping an obliga- 
tion, leaves that obligation in full force. How- 
ever, if a man actually leaves a place with the in- 
tention of not returning to it, the obligation 
ceases, even though his motive was to escape the 
law. An actual change of domicile always en- 
tails a change of jurisdiction, no matter what the 
motive for which it is effected. 

Children who have not yet attained, and adults who 
have permanently lost, the use of reason, are not bound 
by any human law. The reason is that they are inca- 
pable of performing moral acts.** Under certain condi- 
tions, however, such persons may be forced to conform 
to particular precepts, e. g., that of abstinence. 

A sovereign is subject to his own laws, not coactive, 
i. e., as regards their coercive force, for no one properly is 
coerced by himself ; but directive, i, e,, as regards their di- 
rective force, for the sake of order and good example. 
In the words of St. Thomas, **He ought voluntarily and 
not of constraint to fulfil the law," though strictly speak- 
ing he is above it, '^inasmuch as, if expedient, he can 
change the law and dispense from it according to place 
and season." • 

cCfr. St. Thomas, De Veritate, 
qu. 17, art. 3: "^^* ^^*^ praecep' 
turn est vinculum rationis/* 

« Cfr. St. Thomas, Summa Theol, 
la 2ae, qu. 96, art. 5. ad 3 (Rickaby, 
Aquinas Ethicus, Vol. I, p. 294)- 

—St. Ambrose, Apol. Proph. David, 
II, c. 3. n. 8 (Migne, P. L., XIV. 
890). — Idem, Epist., 21, n. 9 (P. L., 
XVI, 1 004) .—St. Isidore, Sent., Ill, 
c 51, n. 1-2, cited in the Decretum 
Gratiani, c. 2, D. 9 (P. !»., 

V I 



It goes without saying that the members of legislative 
bodies are bound to observe the laws which they them- 
selves have made. 

Readings.— St. Thomas, Summa Theol, la 2ae, qu. 96, art. 5.— 
F. A. Gopfert, Moraltheologie, Vol. I, 6th ed., Paderborn 1909, PP. 
57 sqq.-Thos. Slater, SJ;, A Manual of Moral Theology, Vol. I. 
pp. 92 sqq.— A. Boudinhon, art. "Domicile" in the Cath, Encyclo- 
pedia, Vol. V, pp. 103-106.— A. Sweens, Theologia M oralis Fun- 
damentalis, 2nd ed., pp. 204 sqq.— A. Lehmkuhl, S.J., Theologia 
Moralis, nth ed., Freiburg 1910, Vol. I, pp. 138 sqq. 

LXXXIII, 723: Corpus Juris Can., 
ed. Fricdberg. V^ol. I, col. i6).— 
On the question of domicile and 

Quasidomicile see Aug. Bachofen, 
P.S.B.. Commentary on thg NiW 
Code of Canon Law, Vol. II, 




I. By interpretation is meant an authoritative 
explanation of a law in accordance with the will 

of the lawgiver. 

An interpretation is authentic if it is given, 
either directly or indirectly, by the lawgiver him- 
self, and in that case has the same binding force 
as the law which it interprets. 

Customary interpretation is that which a law 
receives from the legitimate practice of those who 
are subject to it. According to an ancient ad- 
dage, "Custom is the best interpreter of law." ^ 

Doctrinal interpretation is that developed by 
experts according to recognized rules from the 
wording and object (ratio) of a law. The 
rules of doctrinal interpretation may be summar- 
ized as follows : 

a) The presumption is always in favor of the 
letter of the law. When the text is ambiguous, 
the words must be taken in their proper, ordinary, 
and natural meaning. 

b) If the object and purpose of a law (ratio 

1 "CoHSueludo est optima legum inferpLs." (.Codex lurU Con., can. 29)- 

177 1 



legis) are obvious, but the phraseology is indis- 
tinct, the mind of the legislator and the circum- 
stances of the case must be attended to. 

c) Laws which confer a favor or privilege may 
receive a wide interpretation (favores ampli- 
andi)y provided there be no danger of injuring a 
third party and no conflict with the general law. 

d) Penal laws, and laws which impose a new 
burden or restriction may be interpreted nar- 
rowly, that is, not extending the burden to such 
as are not strictly included in their terms (odiosa 
sunt rcstringcnda)} 

2. When must a law be observed? The gen- 
eral rule is that a legal obligation should be ful- 
filled as soon as possible. 

When a fixed term is appointed for the fulfil- 
ment of a law, this must be observed. In ap- 
pointing a fixed term the lawniaker may have in- 
tended to make the obligation binding only for 
that period (tempus "Sppositum ad Uniendam 
ohligationem) . Thus, if one has missed Mass on 
Sunday, he is not bound to make up for it on 
some other day. Or the intention may have been 
merely to impress the urgency of the precept 
( tempus appositum ad urgendam vel sollicitandam 
ohligationem). In the latter case the obligation 
must be fulfilled even after the appointed term 

2 Regulae luris in Sexto Decret. 
Bonif. VIII, No. 15: "Odia re- 
stringi et favores convenit atnpliari/' 

Cfr. No. 49: "In poenis benignior 
est interpretatio facienda." C£r. Co- 
dex luris Can*, can. 19. 



has expired. Thus, if a man has neglected to 
make his Easter Communion during the pre- 
scribed season, the duty of making it later con- 
tinues.^ If in such a case a person knows be- 
forehand that he will be unable to comply with an 
obligation at or after the time prescribed, he is 
bound, if possible, to fulfil it earlier. 

Readings.— Coi/^^r luris Can., can. 17 sqq. (with the commen- 
taries by Aug. Bachofen, O.S.B., Vol. I, St. Louis 1917, and J. 
Kinane in the Irish Ecclesiastical Record, Fifth Series, Vol. XI, 
No. 601, pp. 25 sqq.).— Th. Slater, S.J., A Manual of Moral 
Theology, Vol. I, pp. 100 sqq.— W. H. W. Fanning, S.J., in the 
Cath. Encyclopedia, Vol. XV, p. 704— E. Taunton, The Law of 
the Church, pp. 644 sq.— A. Sweens, Theologia Moralis Funda- 
mentalist 2nd ed., pp. 198 sqq.— A. Tanquerey, S.S., Synopsis 
Theologiae Moralis, Vol. II, pp. 166 sqq. 

tCoHC. Trident., Sess. XIII, can. 9: ". • • singulis annis, saltern in 






A law may cease to be binding either for the 
whole of a community or for particular individ- 
uals only. 

1 . A law ceases to bind the whole community : 

a) By abrogation (abrogatio), which is a com- 
plete annulment of the whole law ; 

b) By derogation (derogatio), which is the 
annulment of a portion of the law, the rest re- 
maining intact; 

c) By the introduction of a contrary custom 
(consuetudo vim legis habens) ; 

d) By the fact that the law has ceased to be 
useful because it no longer attains the purpose 
for which it was made (cessante causa cessat ef- 
fect us) ; 

2. A law ceases to bind individuals, i. e., in par- 
ticular cases : 

a) By a dispensation (dispensatio) ; 

b) By a privilege (privilegium) ; and 

c) By epikia, or equity, i. e., a benign inter- 
pretation of the law, by which it is deemed not to 
apply to some particular case. 




Cases sometimes arise where it may be assumed that the 
lawgiver, not having foreseen all possible contingencies, 
would, if he were consulted, excuse the person so situated. 

Epikia (im€iK€ui) is the application of a law accord- 
ing to the mind of the lawgiver and contrary to its word- 
ing. It applies to human and positive divine laws only, 
never to the moral law of nature. Epikia is not a self- 
dispensation, as is sometimes claimed, but may be likened 
to an act of justifiable self-defense or self-help, when there 
is a conflict of duties and one has to follow his own judg- 
ment or moral conviction in determining which is the 

higher duty. ^ 

Such equitable interpretation is permitted in affirmative 
and negative or prohibitive laws, not in nullifying laws, 
i. e., in those which make an act contrary to them null 
and void,^ and only in cases where the observance of a 
law is attended by serious difficulties and no important 
interests of Church or State are at stake.^ 

Readings. — Codex luris Can., can. 22 sq.— St. Thomas, Summa 
TheoL, 2a 2ae, qu. 120.— Th. Slater, SJ., A Manual of Moral 
Theology, Vol. II, p. 103.— E. Taunton, The Law of the Church, 
London 1906, pp. 294 sqq., 324, 266 sqq.— Suarez, De Legibus, I, 
c. 2, n. 9-11.— A. Lehmkuhl, SJ., Theologia Moralis, nth ed., Vol. 
I, PP- 149 sqq.— A. Sweens, Theologia Moralis Fundamentalis, 2nd 
ed., pp. 232 sqq. 

1 St. Thomas, Summa Theol., la 
2ac, qu. 96, art. 6; 2a 2ae, qu. 
120, art. 1-2. 

2Thos. Slater, S.J., A Manual of 
Moral Theology, Vol. I, p. 103. 

3 Lehmkuhl, Theol. Mor., I, p. 
147; Sweens, Theol. Mor. Fund., pp. 
202 sqq.; Tanquerey, Synopsis 
Theol. Mor., Vol. II, pp. 169 sq. 






The existence of conscience is a fact known to 
every man through his immediate consciousness. 

The terms conscience and consciousness, 
though much alike, have distinct meanings. 'Tn 
English/' says Father Rickaby, "we have done 
with a Latin word what neither the Latins nor 
the French have done : we have doubled the term, 
making 'conscience' stand for the moral depart- 
ment and leaving 'consciousness' for the univer- 
sal field of objects about which we become 

aware." ^ 

When, therefore, we say that the existence of 
conscience is attested by consciousness, we mean 
that every man is immediately aware of the fact 
that he has a conscience. This is true of un- 
civilized and barbarous as well as of civilized 

lJo8. Rickaby, SJ., in the Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. IV, p. 268. 




human beings. By all, conscience is acknowl- 
edged as a moral power and one of the mainstays 
of the social order. Qcero, Seneca, and other 
pagan writers extolled it aSxthe rule and guide of 
life, though their conception of it was crude and 
not altogether correct. 

The existence of conscience is taken for granted 
throughout the Old and New Testaments.^ The 
former speaks of conscience as heart (KapSta), 
and devotes special attention to the pangs of an 
evil conscience. The name (rvvelSrjaL^ (conscientia) 
itself occurs only once in the Old Testament ; ^ in 
the New it is used repeatedly, though never by 
Christ Himself. St. Paul expressly distinguishes 
conscience from the natural law, of which it gives 
testimony, and describes it as the unconditional 
rule of morality.^ 

Conscience, being common to all men and in- 
born in all, must be part of human nature, and, 
therefore, created by God,^ not, as the Material- 

2 Cfr. J. L. Mosheim, Sittenlehre, 
Vol. Ill, Helmstadt 1743, pp. 210 

sWisd. XVII, II. 

4 Rom. II, 14-15; XIV, 23; cfr. 2 
Cor. I, 12. — St. Augustine, Enarr. 
in Ps., 56, n. 14: "Vicerunt perse- 
quentes [pagani], et victi sunt mar- 
tyres T Absit. Quaere gloriam mar- 
tyrum apud Deum, quaere foveam 
paganorum in confossa conscientia: 
ibi est enim fovea, quo cadit impius, 
in conscientia mala." (Migne, P.L., 
XXXVI, 670).— Idem, ibid., II, 30, 
S» 1, n. 3: "Quidquid vis, potes 

fugere, homo, praeter conscientiam 
tutim. Intra in domum tuam, re- 
quiesce in lecto tuo, intra in in- 
teriora: interius habere nihil potes, 
quo fugias a conscientia tua, si 
rodunt te peccata tua." (P. L., 
XXXVI, 234). 

6 Cfr. Tertullian, Adv. Marcionem, 
I, c. 10: "Ante anima quam pro- 
phetia : animae enim a primordio con- 
scientia Dei dos est; eadem nee alia 
et in Aegyptiis et in Syris et in 
Ponticis." (Ed. Leopold, Vol. Ill, 
p. 52). 


ists maintain, evolved by education, training, 
habit, environment or economic causes.^ For 
the same reason conscience is not autonomous. 
Its voice, says St. Thomas, is nothing else 
than the manifestation of the divine law to 
man.^ The inspired account of the temptation 
of our first parents proves this.^ 'The idea of 
good and evil," says a modern non-Catholic 
writer, ''was given to man before the fall. It is 
a prerequisite of free-will, which could not per- 
form its functions without that concept. An an- 
cient tradition aptly places the tree of the knowl- 
edge of good and evil in Paradise.® Good and 
evil existed before man was seduced. Conscience 
began to speak in him the moment he became 
aware of his liberty, for from that moment he 
was able to judge himself and his actions as be- 
ing either good or bad." ^^ 

What we call a guilty conscience (i. e., evil con- 
cupiscence) did not, of course, exist before the 
fall of our first parents, but is a consequence of 
original sin which still aflfects their descendants, 



« Cfr. Th. Elsenhans, Wesen und 
Entstehung des Gewissens, Leipsic 
1894, pp. 149 sqq., 204 sqq. — G. Car- 
ring, Das Gewissen, pp. 40 8QQ«» ^ 

7 St Thomas, De Veritate, qu. 17, 
art 3: "Quum conscientia nihil 
aliud sit quam applicatio notitiae ad 
actum, constat quod conscientia 
ligare dicitur vi praecepti divini." — 
Ibid,, art. 4, ad a: "Conscientiae 

dictamen nihil est aliud quam per- 
ventio praecepti divini ad eum, qui 
conscientiam habet,** 

8 Gen. Ill, 1-4. Cfr. F. Dclitzsch, 
System der biblischen Psychologie, 
2nd ed., Leipsic 1861, pp. 133 sqq. 

9 Gen. II, 9. 

10 R. Seeberg, Gewissen und Ge- 
wissensbildung, Erlangen 1896, p. 
15; cfr. p. 71. 

though its malign influence is largely offset by 
grace and the blessings of the atonement. ^^ 

Readings.— St. Thomas, De Veritate, qu. 16 and 17.— P. Ewald, 
De Vocis <rvv€i5'ii<T€(as Vi ac Potestate Commentatio, Leipsic 1883, 
pp. 20 sqq.— I. Jahnel, Ueber den Begriff Gewissen in der griechi- 
schen Philosophie, Glatz 1872.— Idem, De Conscientiae Notione, 
Berlin 1862.— Th. H. Simar, Das Gewissen und die Gezvissensfrei- 
heit, 2nd ed., Freiburg 1902.— L. Lacotte, Traite de la Conscience, 
Paris 1905.— E. Janvier, Exposition de la Morale Catholique, Vol. 
II, pp. 217 sqq.— J. H. Newman, An Essay in Aid of a Grammar 
of Assent, pp. 104-118.— Jos. Rickaby, S.J., art "Conscience" in 
the Cath. Encyclopedia, Vol. IV, pp. 268 sqq.— Sabetti- Barrett, 
Compendium Theologia M oralis, 22nd ed., pp. 31 sqq. — A. Sweens, 
Theologia Moralis Fundamentalis, 2nd ed., pp. 315 sqq. — A. 
Lehmkuhl, Theologia Moralis, nth ed.. Vol. I, pp. 73 sqq.— J. 
Mausbach, Catholic Moral Teaching and its Antagonists, New 
York 1914, pp. 131 sqq. 

11 Cfr. St. Augustine, De Genesi 
ad Literam, XII, c. 34, n. 65: 
**Non solum tertium caelum, quid- 
quid illud est, quod profecto mag- 
num sublimiterque praeclarum est, 
verum etiam in ipso homine laetitia 
quaedam bonae conscientiae paradisus 
est." (Migne, P. L., XXXIV, 482). 
— Idem, Enarr. in Ps., 45, n. 9: 

**Deo sedes est conscientia piorum." 
(P.L., XXXVI, 520).— Idem, Enarr, 
in Ps., 53, n. 8: "Quomodo magna 
est poena impiorum conscientia, sic 
magnum gaudium piorum ipsa con- 
scientia. Nam gloria nostra haec est, 
ait Apostolus (2 Cor. I, 12), testi- 
monium conscientiae nostrae." 
(F. L„ XXXVI, 625). 



The concept of conscience, being inseparably 
bound up with that of soul, could not be fully de- 
veloped until psychology had attained a certain 
degree of scientific precision. 

I. Nominal Definition. — The word con- 
science is derived from the much wider term 
conscientia, which signifies the state of being 
aware of one's own actions. Popularly, con- 
science is often called the voice of God or a mani- 
festation of His will in the hearts of His rational 
creatures.^ This conception is substantially cor- 
rect because conscience acquaints man with the 
dictates of the divine law, which is a power he 
may not contemn. But conscience is not always 
the voice of God. Like any other human judg- 
ment it may be erroneous. History proves this 
without a doubt. As men have at various times 
held erroneous opinions in other matters,^ so one 

1 Cfr. ' St. Bonaventure, Comment. 
In Sent., II, dist. 39, art. i, qu. 3, ad 
3: "Conscientia est sicut praeco Dei 
et nuntius. Et quod dicit, non man- 
dat ex se, sed mandat quasi ex Deo, 
sicui praeco, quum divulgat edictum 

regis, et hinc est quod conscientia 
habet virtutem ligandi \n his, quae 
possunt aliquo modo bene fieri.*' 
{Opera Omnia, Vol. II, p. 907). 

2 Cfr. R. Seeberg, Genoissen und 
Gewissensbildung, pp. 6 sqq., 22 




may (by false training or for other reasons) hold 
erroneous opinions in moral questions. A pagan 
involved in invincible and therefore pardonable 
error concerning the secondary precepts of the 
moral law, might worship idols and torture his 
foes with a perfectly clear conscience.^ 

2. Real Definition. — The first real definition 
of conscience is found in the writings of the 
Scholastics,^ especially Blessed Albert the Great 
and St. Thomas Aquinas.^ 

a) Aristotle taught that the soul has two 
faculties, intellect and will, of which the latter is 
subject to the former. The Schoolmen adopted 
this theory and defined conscience as an act of the 
intellect or understanding.® Distinguishing be- 

sqq. ; Th. H. Simar, Das Gewissen 
und die Gewissensfreiheit, pp. 13 


8 Cfr. Rom. XIV, 23; John XVI, 

4 Cfr. Th. H. Simar, Die Lehre 
vom Wesen des Gewissens in der 
Scholastik des 13. Jahrhunderts, I, 
Freiburg 1885, pp. 5 sqq. — A practi- 
cal meditation on conscience by a 
1 2th century writer is contained in 
the anonymous Libellus de Con- 
scientia, reproduced in Migne's 
Patrologia Latina, CCXIII, 903 sqq. 
— See also the Liber de Conscientia 
ad Alcherum of Peter Cellensis 
(P. L., ecu, 1083 sqq.) and the 
Tractatus de Interiori Domo sive de 
Conscientia Aedificanda of an un- 
known contemporary of St. Bernard 
(ibid., CLXXXIV, 507 sqq.). 

6 Albert the Great, SHmma ^c 

Great., P. II, De Homine, qu. 69- 
70; Idem, Comment, in Sent., II, 
dist. 5, art. 6; dist. 24, art. 14. — St. 
Thomas, Summa Theol., la, qu. 79, 
art. 12-13; I a 2ae, qu. 19, art. 5; De 
Veritate, qu. 16-17; Comment, in 
Sent., II, dist. 24. — Cfr. H. Appel, 
Die Lehre der Scholastiker von der 
Synteresis, Rostock 1891, pp. 28 sqq.; 
A. Strobel, Die Lehre des Albertus 
Magnus iiber das Gewissen, Sigrma- 
ringen 1901, pp. 2 sqq.; F. J. Bruck, 
Die Lehre vom Gewissen nach An- 
tonin, Freiburg 1909. 

6 In opposition to the Dominican 
school, which regarded conscience as 
an act of the intellect only, the Fran- 
ciscan theologians, led by Alexander 
of Hales and St. Bonaventure, con- 
ceived it as a moral faculty, based 
upon the appetitive powers as well as 
upon the understanding. (Simar, 


tween the speculative and the practical intellect, 
they assumed a double conscience. 

The speculative conscience (synteresis) ^ they 
defined as a habit by which the soul perceives the 
general principles of right conduct.® In other 
words, '^synteresis is an habitual hold upon pri- 
mary moral judgments, as, that we must do good, 
avoid evil, requite benefactors, honor superiors, 
punish evildoers." ^ 

The practical or so-called individual conscience 
is a judgment or dictate of practical reason de- 
ciding that a particular action is right or wrong. ^^ 
It is an application of speculative knowledge to 
concrete facts.^^ The process by which reason 
arrives at the judgment called practical conscience 
is essentially syllogistic. The major premise 
{indicium iuris) is a judgment of the speculative 
conscience. The minor (tudicium facti) is its ap- 
plication to the particular case in hand. The 
conclusion is the final judgment as to the moral 

Die Lehre vom Wesen des Gewis- 
sens in der Scholastik des 13. Jahr- 
hunderts, I, p. 7; cfr. pp. 10 sqq.). 
7 On the much-discussed term avv 
T-fiprfffis cfr. J. Jahnel, "Woher 
stammt der Ausdruck Synteresis bet 
den Scholastik em?" in the Theo- 
logische Quartalschrift of Tiibingen, 
1870, pp. 241 sqq. It owes its exist- 
ence to a corrupt passage in St. Jer- 
ome's Commentary on the Prophet 
Ezechiel (I, c. i, n. 10): "Graeci va- 
cant ffVVTi^pTjatv, quae scintilla con- 
scientiae in Adami quoque pectore, 
postquam eiectus est de paradise. 

non extinguitur et qud. . . . nos 
peccare sentimus." (Migne, P. L., 
XXV, 22). The correct form of the 
word is ffvveldriais. 

8 "Cognitio speculativa princi- 
piorum universalium ad bene viven- 

Jos. Rickaby, S.J., Moral Philos- 
ophy, p. 137. 

10 "ludicium seu diet amen practi- 
cum rationis, quo iudicamus, quid 
hie et nunc sit agendum ut bonum 
out vitandum ut malum." 

11 "Applicatio scientiae ad aliquem 
actum specialem^' 





character of the act under consideration, i. e., the 
practical conscience itself. 

For example: 

Major: To He is sinful ; 
Minor: To speak so and so would be to lie ; 
Coficlusion: Therefore it is sinful to speak so and 


Major: Adultery is forbidden ; 
Minor: What I am about to do is adultery ; 
Conclusion: Therefore what I am about to do is 
forbidden ; 


Major: I must obey all who command me with law- 
ful authority ; 

Minor: X. commands me here and now with lawful 
authority ; 

Conclusion: Therefore I must here and now obey 

This theory is not, however, quite satisfactory. For, 
in the first place, the operation of conscience does not 
entirely coincide with that of practical reason. On the 
contrary, the two are often disproportionate. A man 
may have a highly developed mind coupled with a dull and 
unresponsive conscience. Vice versa, the conscience is 
sometimes very active and delicate in a mind that has lit- 
tle more than the rudiments of intellectual culture. An- 
other defect of the Scholastic theory is that it does not 
account satisfactorily for the characteristic phenomenon 
called good or bad conscience, which is a mere sentiment 


preceding the judgment of reason and causing it to reflect 
about what it has done or is about to do. 

b) To remedy this defect, the Scholastics drew 
a distinction between conscientia antecedens and 
conscientia consequens. Antecedent conscience 
is a dictate of practical reason preceding action; 
consequent conscience follows an action, approv- 
ing it as right or condemning it as wrong. Ac- 
cording to this explanation, what men call bad 
conscience is simply a judgment of reason con- 
demning an illicit act and its consequences; in 
other words, it is the perception of, and regret 
for, a false conclusion and a foolish act based 
thereon. In matter of fact, however, the so- 
called pains or qualms of conscience are some- 
thing more than mere regret over a wrongly 
drawn conclusion. Nor can the underlying dif- 
ficulty be removed by conceiving the conscientia 
antecedens as an act of the understanding and 
the conscientia consequens as a mere sentiment, 
for to divide conscience into two essentially dif- 
ferent faculties would destroy its unity. 

3. The Scholastic Theory as Perfected by 
THE Mystics.— The Scholastic theory of con- 
science was complemented and perfected by the 
medieval mystics,'^ who held that deep down in the 

X2CU. J. Jahncl, De Conscientiae Notione, pp. 81 sqq.; W. Schmidt, Das 

Gewissen, pp. 225 sqq. 



innermost recesses of the human soul there is a 
spark of eternal light {scintilla animae), which 
God Himself has put there to preserve the soul 
from destruction.^^ Intellect and will, according 
to this theory, can be made serviceable to evil; 
not so the scintilla animae, in which God Himself 
dwells as the object of mystical contemplation. 
It is this spark of divine light in the soul that the 
mystics regard as the true seat of conscience. 

4. No Strict Definition of Conscience 
Possible. — A strictly adequate definition of con- 
science is impossible because we do not under- 
stand the mysterious nature of the soul. But 
such a definition is not necessary for our purpose. 
We can obtain a sufficient knowledge of the na- 
ture of conscience by studying its manifestations 
(a posteriori). Observation teaches that every 
dictate of conscience is first a judgment of reason 
concerning the moral character of an act, and 
secondly a stirring of the will, in the form of a 
command, admonition or warning, especially an 
impulse of sentiment in the shape of a reproach 
or pain. Hence conscience is more than an act of 
the understanding. It engages all the faculties 
of the soul, and consequently is not a separate and 

13 Cfr. John V, 18.— St. Thomas, 
Comment, in Sent., II, dist. 24, qu. 
2, art. 3, ad 5; De Veritate, qu. 17, 
art. 2, ad 3. — St. Bonaventure, Com- 
trent. in Sent., II, dist. 39, art. 2, 

qu. I, ad 3. — M. Grabmann, **Die 
Lehre des hi. Thomas von der Scin- 
tilla Animae," in the Jahrbuch fUr 
Philosophie und spekulative Theo- 
logie, Paderborn 1900, pp. 413 sqq. 



distinct faculty, but something which lies beneath 
all faculties, at the very basis of the soul. 

We may therefore roughly define conscience as 
a habit or capacity (habitus) of the three facul- 
ties of the soul — intellect, will, and feeling, — 
by which man is bound to the moral order of the 
universe, i. e., the will of God ; or, in other words, 
the capacity of applying objective laws to subjec- 
tive conduct or of regulating man's actions in ac- 
cordance with the law. 

Thus defined, conscience appears as a moral and re- 
ligious faculty or disposition placed in the soul by God, 
and developed together with its other faculties. The fact 
that conscience depends upon the faculties of the soul and 
is subject to many internal and external influences, ex- 
plains why it acts differently in different individuals. 
Conscience itself is never mistaken, but it sometimes 
makes a wrong application of the primary precepts of 
morality to individual cases. In its innermost essence 
conscience, therefore, is "the internal and proximate rule 
of human conduct," ^* and to act deliberately against its 
dictates is always sinful, because such conduct involves a 
denial of ethical personality, — a sort of moral self-anni- 

The first principle of morality, therefore, is this: 
Always obey your conscience, for to act against its 
dictates is invariably a sin,^^ 

14 "Regula interna, proximo sive 
formalis actuum humanorum." 

15 "Omne, quod non est ex Ude, 
peccatum est" Rom. XIV, 23. — 

Cfr. St Alphonsus, Theol. Mor., 1. 

I, n. 55 (ed. Gaude, I, 25); J. 

Schecben, Dogmatik, Vol. Ill, pp. 
954 sqq. 




< f 



Readings.— St. Thomas, De Veritate, qu. 16 and 17.— Th. Sla- 
ter, SJ., A Manual of Moral Theology, Vol. I, pp. 57 sqq.— Jos. 
Rickaby, S.J., Moral Philosophy, pp. 135 sqq.— Idem, art. "Con- 
science" in the Cath. Encyclopedia, Vol. IV, pp. 2^68 sqq.— R. Hof- 
mann, Die Lehre von dem Gewissen, Leipsic 1866. — M. Kahler, 
Das Gewissen, Vol. I, Halle 1878.— M. R. Kabisch, Das Gewissen, 
sein Ursprung und seine PUege, Gottingen 1906. — Th. H. Simar, 
Das Gewissen und die Gewissensfreiheit, Freiburg 1874. — M. Cro- 
nin, The Science of Ethics, Vol. I, pp. 448 sqq. 



To be entirely reliable, .conscience must be 
right, certain, and watchful. Hence the three 
conditions for the normal functioning of con- 
science enumerated by the Schoolmen : rectitudo, 
certitudo, vigilantia. 

I. In order to be right {recta s. vera), con- 
science must accord with the eternal law. Every 
man is in duty bound to follow his conscience 
when it prescribes an act as commanded or for- 
bids it as unlawful. 

Conscience is called erroneous (conscientia er- 
ronea) when its dictates are not in harmony with 
the moral law.^ The mistake may be owing to a 
false conception of the law {error iuris), or to a 
wrong application of its provisions to a concrete 
fact {error facti), or to a faulty conclusion 
formed with regard to the latter {iudicium 

If a mistake is made that could have been avoided, the 
conclusion is said to be vincibly erroneous {error vinci- 
bilis). In this case an act may be sinful, not because the 

1 Cfr. Rom. XIV. 23; i Cor. VHI. 
7; X, 25 sqq.; John XVI, 2. 

2 Cfr. St. Thomas, De Veritate, qu. 
17. art. 2: "Conscientia nihil aliud 
est quant applicatio scientiae ad 
aliquem specialem actum. In qua 

quidem applicatione contingit esse 
errorem dupiiciter: uno modo, quia 
id, quod applicatur, in se errorem 
habet, alio modo ex eo, quod non 
bene applicatur/*— Cfr. 1 Cor. VIII, 




agent has obeyed his conscience, but because the error 
was willed in the cause {voluntarium in causa). An er- 
roneous conscience is invincible {error invincibilis) if the 
mistake committed was absolutely unavoidable. To fol- 
low the dictates of an invincibly erroneous conscience is 
no sin, even when the act performed is objectively evil. 
On the contrary, it would be sinful to act against one's 
conscience, even if, in acting against it, one would be ob- 
jectively in the right. Of course, the mistake must be 
corrected as soon as it is realized. 

2. Conscience is called certain {conscientia 
cert a) if it declares without hesitation that an ac- 
tion is right or wrong. Where uncertainty ex- 
ists, It is a duty to obtain certainty as soon as 
possible. When a man finds himself unable to 
form a certain conclusion with regard to the 
moral character of an act, he will either suspend 
judgment or assent to one of two contrary propo- 
sitions, though conscious that the other may be 
true. In the former case, i. e., if no sufficient 
reasons are known for either affirming or deny- 
ing a proposition, or if equally important reasons 
speak for the one and for the other, conscience 
is said to be doubtful {conscientia dubia). A 
doubtful conscience, if it bases its action on good 
and solid grounds, is called probable {conscientia 

' A doubtful conscience may, therefore, be defined as a 
suspension of judgment with regard to the lawfulness of 
an act. 


Theologians distinguish between positive and negative 
doubt. When there are no reasons, or very slight reasons, 
on either side, there is a negative doubt. Such doubts, 
which calm consideration generally shows to be un- 
founded, must be treated like temptations. When there 
is an apparent equality of reasons, and the mind can- 
not arrive at a decision either one way or the other, 
the existing doubt is positive. When positive doubt 
has reference to the morality of an action it is not lawful 
to perform that action.* While conscience is in this 
state, one may abstain from action, or, if the decision 
cannot be postponed, one must do what would be licit in 
any case. Thus, in doubt whether an action be permis- 
sible, when it is certain that such an action may be omitted, 
the action is to be omitted, and vice versa. This is what is 
meant by the Scholastic axiom, ''In dubiis pars tutior est 

From what has been said it follows that every man is in 
duty bound to rid himself of doubts and to acquire a cer- 
tain conscience (bona fides). Whoever makes a sincere 
effort to solve his doubts by observing the conduct of con- 
scientious people situated in similar circumstances, con- 
sulting an experienced guide, praying for light and trust- 
ing in Providence, will not sin, even if his final decision 
should happen to be wrong.* 

8 Cfr. St. Alphonsus, TheoL Mor., 
1. I, n. 22 (ed. Gaude, I, ii): 
"Dicimus, nunquam esse licitum cum 
conscientia practice dubia operari; et 
casu^ quo aliquis operatur, peccat, et 
quidem peccato eiusdem speciei et 
gravitatis, de quo dubttat, quia qui 
se exponit periculo peccandi, iam 
peccat iuxta illud: Qui amat peri- 
culum, in illo peribit (Eccli. Ill, ^7). 
Quare si dubitat, an illud sit mot' 
tale, mortaliter peccat.* 


4 Indirectly, according to Lehm- 
kuhl, one may resolve a doubtful 
case by these reflex principles: (i) 
In dubio melior est conditio possi- 
dentis; (2) Videndum est, cui in- 
cumbat onus probandi; (3) Ut legi 
certae extra materiam iustitiae satis- 
factum sit, suMcit probabilis imple- 
tio positive probata; (4) In dubiis 
standum est pro eo, pro quo stat 
praesumptio; (5) In dubio iudican- 
dum est ex ordinarie contingentibus; 



3. A watchful conscience (conscientia vigilans) 
is one which asserts itself promptly and strongly 
under all circumstances. The quality of watch- 
fulness is enhanced by a conscientious observance 
of all the commandments, by careful attention to 
the inner workings of conscience, and especially 
by regular daily examinations.^ A conscience 
thus trained becomes tender (conscientia tenera) 
and makes its possessor a conscientious man. 

Continued disregard of the laws of God renders 
the conscience obtuse {cauteriata) and finally 


a) A blunt or obtuse conscience fails to protest 
even against grievous sins. It is called sleeping, 
not dead, because conscience never dies, but al- 
ways awakes again, even in the greatest crim- 
inals, either of itself or under the influence of 
grace, though often too late.*^ Needless to say, 
every man is bound to keep his conscience from 
going to sleep. 

b) A lax conscience {conscientia laxa s. lata) 
is characterized by a tendency to deny or diminish 
obligations. It results from harboring wrong 

(6) Factum non praesumitur, sed 
probandum est; sed quod de iure 
faciendum erat, in dubio factum seu 
recte factum esse praesumitur; (7) 
In dubio favores sunt ampliandt, odi- 
osa restringenda, i. e. benigniora 
praeferenda sunt; (8) In dubio, quod 
minimum est, tenendum; (9) In du- 
bio pars tutior sequenda est. — For 

an explanation of these rules, and 
some useful hints as to their applica- 
tion, see A. Lehmkuhl, S.J., Theol. 
Mor., Vol. I, nth ed., Freiburg 
1910, pp. 122-126. 
B Cfr. Gal. VI, 4 sq.; Eph. IV, 26. 

6 Cfr. I Tim. IV, 2. 

7 Cfr. Mark IX, 43. 


principles and leading a sinful life, and may be 
described as a frivolous conception of life and its 
duties.® When a man's conscience has grown 
lax, his actions are morally equivalent to those 
performed in a state of vincible ignorance. A 
lax conscience is very hard to cure.® There is 
really but one effective remedy for it, vi^. : a thor- 
ough-going change of life. This is a drastic 
medicine, but unless it is applied promptly, the 
patient will succumb to delusions, grow impeni- 
tent, and incur eternal damnation. ^^ 

Readings. — Th. Slater, S J., A Manual of Moral Theology, Vol. 
I, pp. 59 sqq. — Sabetti-Barrett, Compendium Theologiae Moralis, 
22nd ed., pp. 31 sqq. — A. Sweens, Theologia Moralis Fundamen- 
talis, 2nd ed., pp. 319 sqq. — A. Tanquerey, Synopsis Theologiae 
Moralis, Vol. II, pp. 203 sqq. 

8Cfr. Matth. XXIV. 38. 
Cfr. Apoc. Ill, 15 aq. 

loCfr. Ecclus. Ill, 29: 
ner will add sin to sin." 


The sin- 



Scrupulosity or scrupulousness is a peculiar ir- 
regularity by which the conscience is led to ex- 
aggerate obligations or to regard harmless actions 
as sinful. A scrupulous man is harassed by 
groundless doubts and worries, which sometimes 
cause desperation or religious dementia. 

Scrupulosity is often simulated by penitents for 
egoistic ends, e. g., to make a good impression on 
the confessor. A prudent confessor will there- 
fore treat such cases with great caution, espe- 
cially when women are involved. What appears 
to be a scrupulous conscience is sometimes mere 
hypocrisy, which, after the manner of the Phari- 
sees, strains at gnats and swallows camels, i. e., 
pretends to worship the letter of the law without 
regard for its spirit, and loads down others with 
burdens which it declines to assume itself.^ Such 
a conscience is called conscientia pharisceica, and 
is almost impossible to cure because it springs 
from that most tenacious of all vices, — ^pride. 

A scrupulous conscience, on the other hand, can 

1 Cih Mattb, XXIII, 2 sqq., 13 sqq.; John XVIII, 28. 



usually be cured by the timely application of suit- 
able remedies. 

a) The first step to take is to determine the cause. In 
the majority of cases the confessor will discover a patho- 
logical condition of either the body or the mind. The 
penitent must be enjoined under strict obedience to re- 
move the cause of his scruples by applying the rem- 
edies suggested to him. There is no other cure be- 
cause the victim of scrupulosity nearly always seeks the 
cause of his disorder outside himself. Where scruples 
are merely a trial of the soul, or a penalty for previously 
committed sins, or a test of virtue, they may be regarded 
as a disposition of Providence, and the penitent should be 
admonished to be patient, humbly put his trust in God, 
and use his affliction as a means of acquiring greater per- 

If scrupulosity is the result of diabolical obsession and 
the confessor decides to perform an exorcism, he should 
not let the penitent know anything about it. 

A second reason for enjoining strict obedience to the 
directions of the confessor is the inclination of scrupulous 
persons to reject the advice of others and obstinately ad- 
here to their own notions. Such people need, and gener- 
ally desire, a firm guide, and it is safe to say that a scrupu- 
lous penitent will never sin if he follows the advice of his 
confessor. For the same reason a prudent confessor 
should inexorably send a scrupulous penitent back to his 
former confessor, or, when this is impossible, accept him 
only on condition that he promises strict obedience. 
Priests do well to be lenient toward scrupulant penitents 
in all other things, but they should punish disobedience 
with firmness, even by denying absolution. 

b) The specific remedies indicated in each individual 



case must be applied after a careful consideration of all 
the symptoms. When a scrupulous person is haunted by 
temptations against purity, or by the fear of consenting to 
blasphemous thoughts, he should be instructed to accuse 
himself of such things only if he can make oath to the ef- 
fect that he has consented. Men and women who have a 
tender conscience do not usually commit a grievous sin 
without being aware of the fact. Where scruples have 
reference to past confessions, they are generally caused 
by a false notion of the requirements of valid confession 
or by the apprehension of losing the right disposition at 
any moment. In such cases it may be advisable to instruct 
the penitent regarding the necessary requisites of confes- 
sion. If a general confession is likely to afford relief, let 
it be suggested or permitted, on condition that the penitent 
confess no sins of his previous life, unless he is ready to 
take an oath that he actually committed and never con- 
fessed them before. As a rule scrupulous penitents 
should be dissuaded from brooding over or mentioning 
past sins. This is a wise rule to follow, because, even 
though something serious may occasionally be left out, 
the preservation of bodily and spiritual health is a higher 
duty than the material integrity of sacramental confession. 

Another class of scrupulants labor under the fear of 
committing a sin every time they act. Such persons 
should be advised to disregard their apprehensions and to 
go ahead resolutely without trying to solve their doubts, 
because no one who earnestly strives to serve God is likely 
to commit a grave sin without being aware of the fact. 

The rule bidding men to abstain from acting as long as 
their conscience is in a state of doubt, does not apply to 
scrupulants. If it did, they would never act at all, as they 
are never free from doubt. Such persons should be 
taught to disregard the maxim, "In dubio pars iutior est 


sequenda," and they will rarely sin, except in a material 
sense, because they will not act against conscience, but 
merely against unreasonable fears and scruples. 

Finally, scrupulous persons should be forbidden to re- 
peat prayers, penances, etc., which they think they have 
performed imperfectly. Of course, where harm has re- 
sulted to another by an incomplete performance of duties, 
even the scrupulant can not be dispensed from repeti- 
tion, e, g,, if a scrupulous priest had mispronounced the 
formula of absolution, he would be bound to repeat the 
same. Usually, however, scrupulants only think they 
have erred in such cases, and since their doubts are un- 
founded, there is no obligation to repeat. 

Readings.— Thos. Slater, S.J., A Manual of Moral Theology, 
Vol. I, pp. 76 sqq. — Idem, Questions of Moral Theology, New 
York 1915, pp. 329 sqq.— J. F. Delany in the Cath. Encyclopedia, 
Vol. XIII, pp. 640 sq.— Sabetti-Barrett, S.J., Compendium The- 
ologiae Moralis, 22nd ed.. New York 1915, pp. 35 sqq.— De Lehen, 
S.J., The Way of Interior Peace, New York 1888, pp. 268 sqq.— 
F. P. Kenrick, Theologia Moralis, Vol. I, 2nd ed., pp. 26 sqq.— A. 
Tanquerey, S.S., Synopsis Theologiae Moralis, Vol. II, pp. 198 
sqq.— A. Lehmkuhl, S.J., Theologia Moralis, nth ed., Vol. I, pp. 
76 sqq.— A, Konings, C.SS.R., Theologia Moralis, 2nd ed., Vol. I, 
New York 1876, pp. 19 sqq. 







I. Definition and Division of Duty. — Law 
as the external rule of conduct objectively binds 
all those for whom it is made ; but it does not be- 
come a subjective obligation for the individual 
until obedience to it is perceived to be a duty (oM- 
cium). Duty has been defined as the recognition 
of the applicability of a general precept to a con- 
crete case. More correctly, it is a moral obliga- 
tion to do something or refrain from doing it.^ 

Jurisprudence knows none but compulsory duties, 
which can be enforced by external means. In the court 
of Moral Theology, on the contrary, every duty binds in 
conscience because duty, in its last analysis, spells ac- 
countability to the will of God {supremiis debendi titu- 
lus). Hence the following distinctions: 

1 Cfr. St. Thomas, Summa Theol., 
2SL 2ae, qu. 58, art. 3, ad 2: *' Du- 
plex est necessitas: una coactionis 
, • . Alia autem est necessitas ex 

obligatione praecepti sive necessitate 
Unis, quando scilicet aliquis non pot- 
est consequi Unern virtutis nisi hoc 





(i) Natural and positive duties. Natural duties {oM- 
cia naturalia) arise from the moral law of nature, posi- 
tive duties {oMcia positiva) from divine or human laws. 

(2) Negative and affirmative duties. Negative duties 
{oflicia negativa) forbid, whereas affirmative duties {oM- 
cia afHrmativa) command. 

(3) Absolute (or perfect) and hypothetical (or im- 
perfect) duties. The former bind not only always 
{semper), but in all conceivable circumstances {pro sem- 
per), e.g., telling the truth; the latter under certain con- 
ditions only {semper, sed non pro semper), as e.g., fra- 
ternal correction. 

(4) Duties to God, to oneself, and to one's fellowmen. 

(5) Individual and social duties, arising from one's 
obligations towards oneself and one's relations to society. 

(6) Duties of charity and duties of justice, dictated 
respectively by these two fundamental virtues. 

(7) Higher duties obliging under pain of grievous, and 
lower duties obliging under pain of venial sin, according 
to the degree of obligation and especially according to the 
importance of the object involved {gravitas sive levitas 


There are as many duties as there are actions that fall 
under the general law, and hence no exhaustive enumera- 
tion is possible. Life is in constant motion and condi- 
tions are changing all the time. 

11. Motives. — A motive is a reason for do- 
ing a thing, apprehended by the intellect, plus a 
desire to do it, residing in the soul. The motives 
that impel a Christian to live up to his duties are 
fear of God (timor Domini) and charity (cari- 
tas). These two motives differentiate Catholic 



Moral Theology from Determinism, as well as 
from the Pharisaic legalism that obeys the letter 
but disregards the spirit of the law. 

I. The highest of all motives is charity. It 
excludes moral compulsion and that slavish fear 
which cringes in apprehension of punishment ; ^ 
but it does not exclude that childlike reverence 
(timor filialis) which is the beginning of love 
( timor initialis ) .^ 

All fear is more or less a product of egoism, 
and hence the timor filialis is a less perfect motive 
than charity. But even pure charity is not abso- 
lutely disinterested, and therefore moral compul- 
sion as a means of training the will, and filial fear 
as a motive of duty, are not opposed to the Chris- 
tian religion, though charity is invariably the 
highest and the only perfect motive.* 

St. Bernard writes: "Charity alone can deflect the 
heart from self-love and love of the world, and direct it 
towards God. Neither fear nor self-love (amor pri- 
vatus) is able to transform the soul. These motives 
sometimes alter a man's mien or some single act of his, but 

2 Timor servilis, technically called 
timor serviliter servilis. (Cfr. i 
John IV, 18). 

3Ps. II, 11; Is. XI, 2 sq.; 
XXXIII, 6; M'\ I, 6; Prov. I, 7* 
IX, 10; XV, 33; Ecclus. I, II, 22; 
XIX, 18; XXI, 13; XL, 28; Job 
XXVIII, 28; Matth. X, 28; Luke 
XII, 5; Rom. VIII. 1S-17; 2 Cor. 
VII. If Gal. IV. 6; Phil. II. 12; 
I Pet. I, 17. — Cfr. St. Augustine, De 
Vera Relig., c. 17, n. 33: "Pietas 


timore inchoatur, caritate perficitur 
(Migne. P. L., XXXIV, 136).— 
Idem, Enarr. in Ps., 63, n. 2.— 
Alcuin, De Virtut et Vitiis, c. 15. — 
St. Thomas, Summa Theol., 22. 2ae, 
qu. 19, art. 1-12. 

4 "Oderunt peccare boni virtutis 
amore." (Horace, Epist., i, 16, 52). 
A man who merely obeys the law be- 
cause he fears punishment, is not 
a vir bonus. 


they never change his character {affectum). Even he 
who is a slave [to sin] occasionally obeys the will of God; 
but as he does not act of his own accord {sponte), it 
easily becomes manifest that his heart continues to be 
hardened." ^ According to Aquinas man's ultimate des- 
tiny is to be united to God by charity, and therefore 
sanctity or Christian perfection consists essentially in 
loving God and one's fellowmen in obedience to the 
sovereign precept of the Gospel.® A famous fifteenth- 
century preacher, P. John Herolt, O.P., says: "To be 
truly good, our actions must be inspired by the love of 
God. What is not done for charity's sake, is neither 
pleasing to God nor meritorious. Hence we must guard 
against serving God merely for the sake of eternal re- 
ward, or because we are afraid of hell, but must do good 
chiefly for the love of God and His greater glory. True, 
the desire for Heaven and the fear of hell are salutary 
motives; but to avoid evil for no other purpose than to 
escape punishment would not only be unbecoming to a 
Christian but positively sinful.''^ St. Ignatius Loyola 
says that a man should be guided in all his actions as 
much as possible by a pure and perfect love of God, 
though he may be aided also by fear of punishment or 
hope of reward.* The meaning is that we should strive 
to act from pure love of God, though not as if to act from 
lower motives were sinful. 

2. To the slavish legalism of the Pharisees ® 
the Catholic Church opposes the spiritual inter- 

5 Liber de Diligendo Deo, c. 12, n. 
34 (Migne, P.L., CLXXXII, 995). 

6 Cfr. the Sumtna Theologica, 2a 
2ac, qu. 184, art. i and 3. 

7 Cfr. N, Paulus, Johann Herolt 
und seine Lehre, in the Zeitschrift 

fUr kath. Theohgie, Innsbruck 1902, 
pp. 417 sqq. 

8 Const., Ill, I, 26 (Florence ed., 
1893. 2, 43). ^ 

9 Cfr. Matth. XXIII, 1-33; Mark 
XII, 38-40; G. Beer, Schabbath, 
Tubingen 1908, pp. 37 sqq. 



pretation of the law (ratio legis). She bids us 
obey the spirit rather than the letter, because the 
essence of morality does not consist in a purely 
external and material conformity to the law, but 
above all in a willing disposition of the heart and 
mind.'" There is no morality without legality, 
because one who truly loves God will gladly 
obey His law. On the other hand it is equally 
true that there is no true legality without moral- 
ity.^^ The alleged opposition between the inte- 
rior spirit and external observance, between the 
gospel and "ecclesiastical formalism," exists only 
in the imagination of our opponents. There is, 
of course, no intention of denying that opposition 
between the two is possible. Man may obey the 
law outwardly while resisting it inwardly, and 
thereby destroy the true spirit of religion within 
his soul. But this is not the Catholic idea. The 
Church demands that we embrace the faith 
sincerely and obey its precepts with a cheerful 
heart. It was in this sense that Christ, after ac- 
cusing the Pharisees of tithing mint and anise and 
disregarding the weightier things of the law — 
judgment, mercy, and faith— said to them: 
"These things you ought to have done, and not to 
leave those undone." " 

10 Cfr. Gen. IV, 3-S; Matth. XII, 
1-12; Mark XII, 41-44; Luke XXI, 

11 Cfr. Matth. XXI, 28-32; 

XXIII, 23-30: John XIV, 15, 21 ; 
XV, 10; I Cor. XIII, 1-8. 

12 Matth. XXIII, 23.— Ph. Kneib, 
Die "Jenseitsmoral." pp. 57 sqq. 


The Catholic Church has never been satisfied with in- 
culcating a merely external observance of the command- 
ments. On the contrary, she has always insisted on faith 
and charity as the chief postulates of Christian perfection. 
St. Cyprian says: "When Cain and Abel offered their 
sacrifices to God, He regarded not the gift, but the heart 
of the givers, and was pleased best by the gift of Abel be- 
cause Abel had a pure heart." ^^ St. Ambrose writes : 
"The spirit in which you do a thing gives your work its 
name. As it comes out of your heart, so will it be appre- 
ciated [by God]. You see how the Judge regards your 
interior disposition. He consults with you as to whether 
He should accept your gift; He first interrogates your 
mind."" St. Augustine teaches: "Men's actions are 
judged [by God] according to the motive that inspires 
them, i, e., charity. Many things are done which look 
well enough, but do not spring from charity; even the 
thorns produce flowers. Some things that seem harsh 
and inhuman, are done at the behest of charity (dic- 
tante caritate) to further a good cause. Hence the brief 
commandment is once for all impressed upon you: 
*Love [God] and do what you please* (Dilige et quod vis 
fac). . . . Let the root of charity grow in your heart, 
then nothing but good will proceed therefrom." ^^ St. 
Gregory the Great declares : "God weighs the heart, not 
the gift {substantiam) , and when a sacrifice is offered to 
Him, He does not regard its size, but the heart from 
which it comes. . . . Before God the hand is never 
empty if the shrine of the heart is filled with good will. 

13 De Oratione Dominica, c. 24, n. 
8. — See the Vienna edition of St. 
Cyprian's works (Corpus Scriptorum 
Eccles. Latin.), Ill, i, 285. 

\^ De OMciis, I, c. 30 (Migne, 
P.L., XVI, 66). 

15 Tract, in Epist. I loa., VII, n. 
8 (Migne, P.L., XXXV. 2033)— Cfr. 
Abelard, Ethica, c. 5: "Habe, in- 
quit Augustinus, caritatem et fac, 
quod vis/' iP.L., CLXXVIII, 647). 



. . . No more precious gift can be offered to God than 
good will.'' ^^ John Herolt teaches that "the disposition 
of him who oflfers sacrifice is more pleasing to God than 
the gift offered. For perfection or holiness of life does 
not consist in external practices, such as fasting, watch- 
ing, etc., but in humility, patience, chastity, mercy, obedi- 
ence, and, above all, charity. External practices (exte- 
rior a exercitia) are valueless except in so far as they fit 
man to lead a virtuous life and are dictated by the right 
spirit." ^' 

St. Alphonsus summarizes the teaching of the Church 
as follows : "The essence of Christian perfection consists 
not in severity towards oneself, nor in prayer, nor in the 
frequent reception of the Sacraments, nor in giving alms, 
but in charity.'' ^® 

Needless to say, by thus insisting on the need of genu- 
ine charity these writers do not intend to disparage the 
practice of good works. 

3. Parvitas Materiae. — The teaching of the 
casuists concerning parvitas materiae must be 
judged in the light of the truth just set forth, 
namely, that the state of a man's soul is deter- 
mined, not by his external compliance w^ith the 
lawr, but by his interior disposition. Catholic 
theologians hold that a duty may be regarded as 
fulfilled even though the act be materially incom- 

16 Horn, in Evang., I, horn. 2 
(Migne. P. L., LXXVI, 1093)— On 
the teaching of the Fathers cfr. M. 
Reichmann, S. J., Der Zweck heiligt 
die Mittel, Freiburg 1903. PP- 29 
sqq., 40 sqq. 

17 Cfr. N. Paulus, "Johann Herolt 
und seine Lehre," in the Innsbruck 
Zeitschrift fUr kath. Theologie, 1902, 
pp. 429 sqq. 

18 Practica di amar GesH, Crista, 
Turin 1768.— Cfr. F. Meffert, Der 
hi. Alfons von Liguori. Mayence 
1901, p. 258; John Cassian, Collat. 
Patr., I, c. 6-7 (Migne, P.L., XLIX, 
488) ; St. Gregory the Great, Horn, in 
Evang., II, horn. 29, n. 4 iP.L., 
LXXVI, 1216). 


plete, and that no transgression is a mortal sin if 
the matter is unimportant (materia parva), — 
provided, of course, that the will of the transgres- 
sor be not positively evil; for a positively evil will 
may render .an act grievously sinful even if the 
object be in itself slight/® 

The doctrine of the parvitas materiae, however, is not 
without its difficulties. It cannot be left to the subjective 
judgment of the individual to decide in a given case what 
is materia parva, and the casuists have made it their 
particular business to fix a point with regard to every 
single commandment where the parvitas materiae begins. 
But their decision can only be approximate and naturally 
is subject to change. The objects of the moral law can- 
not be measured with mathematical precision. Note also 
that, if the parvitas materiae is to be interpreted in favor 
of morality, the subject must have the will to obey the law. 
Where good will is lacking, or where there is a positive 
tendency to evil, an act may be mortally sinful even though 
its object is materia parva according to common estima- 
tion. Thus the destruction of some object belonging to 
another, even though its value be small, may involve great 
malice, e, g., when one knows that the owner is extremely 
fond of the object and would be deeply grieved by its 
loss. In this way an act directed to a small and un- 
important object may yet be a grievous sin.^® 

Readings.— M. Cronin, The Science of Ethics, Vol. I, pp. 203 
sqq.— R. I. Holaind, S.J., Natural Law and Legal Practice, pp. 
267 sqq.— Th. Meyer, S.J., Institutiones luris Naturalis, Vol. I, 
2nd ed., pp. 378 sqq.— C. Gutberlet, Ethik und Naturrecht, 3rd 
ed., pp. 100 sqq. 

19 Cfr. H. Thurston, SJ.. in the 20 F. X. Linsenmann, Lehrhueh 

Cath. Encyclopedia, Vol. IX, p. 154. der Moraltheotogie, p. loa. 



I. When a man has two or more duties, but 
is able to fulfil only one, he is confronted by what 
moralists call a conflict of duties. 

At first blush it would seem that such a conflict 
can exist only in the mind. If what we call law 
is primarily a communication of truth to the hu- 
man intellect, by which knowledge is increased 
and the moral judgment sharpened, it must be pos- 
sible for the average man to inform himself with 
regard to the spirit of existing laws and their mu- 
tual relations so as to avoid perplexity of con- 
science.^ Furthermore, the law is supposed to 
safeguard conscience in all important matters 
against doubt and error. This contention is 
strengthened by a consideration of the ultimate 
basis on which the concept of duty rests, — i. c, 
the will of God, who cannot contradict Himself. 

In reality, however, since the fall of our first 
parents, conditions are such as to make a conflict 
of duties possible, nay in many instances real. 


1 Cfr. St. Jerome, Tract, sive "Nunquam christiano nox est; sent- 
Horn, in Ps. (ed. G. Morinus) : per christiano sol iustitiae oritur/ 



I. The moral order is seriously and perma- 
nently disturbed by sin. This disturbance is an 
objective and universal fact which permeates the 
whole of society. Man, on being born, enters a 
world full of grievous disorders. He is sur- 
rounded all through life by false notions and im- 
moral deeds. Perplexity of conscience arises 
indeed primarily and immediately from defective 
knowledge. But the underlying error is more 
than subjective or individual. It is an objective 
fact resulting from the general condition of 
things and the dependence of each individual on 
the ideas and acts of his f ellowmen. 

2. In consequence of the disturbed moral or- 
der man's destiny and his position in the universe 
are twofold,— temporal and eternal, earthly and 
heavenly,— and it requires extraordinary insight 
and more than a purely natural wisdom to har- 
monize the respective duties of both spheres— to 
provide for the needs of the body without detri- 
ment to the soul. 

Moreover, man is not merely an individual ; he 
is also a social being, and as such has duties to his 
f ellowmen and to society. These duties (devo- 
tion to family and country, etc.) often clash with 
the duties he owes to himself, and every collision 
gives rise to doubts and conflicts, which are not 
merely the product of subjective and vincible 
error in the mind, but actually exist in rerum na- 



tura as a consequence of the disturbance of the 
moral order. 

II. Moralists have laid down certain general 
rules by which a man is enabled to choose between 
conflicting duties according to their relative im- 
portance. Though all obligations have the same 
source {L e., the will of God), they differ in degree 
according to the order of the various laws, the rel- 
ative importance of the objects which they are in- 
tended to promote, and the social standing of the 
persons concerned. ^ 

I. Some duties derive their relative impor- 
tance from the laws by which they are imposed. 

a) Duties based upon the moral law of nature 
precede those enjoined by positive divine or hu- 
man law. Hence it is not allowed to tell a lie 
in order to obey one's parents, but it is allowed to 
do servile labor on the Lord's Day to assist a f el- 
lowman in need.^ Likewise it is never permitted 
to commit a grievous sin in order to prevent a 
venial sin.^ It goes without saying that divine 
laws rank higher than purely human laws and 
that, all other things being equal, the religious 

2 Cfr. Matth. XII, 1-14; Mark II, 
23-28; III. 1-5; Luke VI, i-ii. 
Cfr. I Kings XXI, 1-6. 

8 Gen, XIX, 8; Judg. XIX, 24.— 
In regard to the question, "An liceat 
consulere sive suadere minus malum 
ad evitandum maiusf" the Fathers 
and theologians differ. Cfr. H. 
Zschokke, Die biblischen Frauen des 
Alien Testaments, Freiburg 1882, pp. 

73 sqq. ; F. Heiner, Des Graf en Paul 
V. Hoensbroech neuer Beweis des 
"jesuitischen" Grundsatzes: Der 
Zweck heiligt die Mitt el, 3rd ed., 
Freiburg 1904, pp. 28 sqq.; Dr. 
Fidelis, Hoensbroech contra Das- 
bach, Klagenfurt 1904, PP- 5. 8, 13; 
G. F. Dasbach, Dasbach gegen 
Hoensbroech, Treves 1904, I, pp. 19 
sqq; II, 2nd ed., Treves 1905. 


precepts imposed by the Church involve a heavier 
obligation than purely civil ordinances.* 

b) Negative take precedence over affirmative 
duties ; in other words, it is a higher duty to avoid 
sin than to perform good works. Hence it is not 
permitted to violate the truth in order to satisfy 
the obligation of sanctifying Sunday, for the end 
does not justify immoral means.* 

c) Duties corresponding to a strict right 
(called duties of justice) as a rule precede those 
enjoined by charity. Hence no man is permitted 
to steal in order to give alms. Note, however, 
that there are circumstances in which, for the 
sake of some higher consideration, duties of 
charity may take precedence over duties of jus- 
tice. Thus a man is bound to assist a f ellowman 
in extreme need before paying his own legitimate 

d) The duties of one's vocation or office take 
precedence over purely personal and family du- 
ties, but only in so far as their non-observance 
would jeopardize the common good. Thus a 
priest must remain at his post in times of persecu- 
tion or during an epidemic, but this duty does 
not bind when he is himself ill and a substitute 
can be had. 

4Cfr. Acts rv, 19; V, 29.— The 
Syllabus of Pius IX condemns the 
proposition (n. 42): "/n conHictu 
legum utriusque potestatis ius civile 

praevalet." (Denzinger-Bannwart, n. 

K Cfr. Gen. XIX, 31 sqq.; XXVII. 
6 iqq. 





e) Certain duties take precedence over uncer- 
tain or doubtful duties. 

2. With regard to the relative importance or 
value of the objects which laws are intended to 
promote, the salvation of the soul ranks higher 
than the welfare of the body.^ Hence a man is 
not allowed to commit a sin (e. g., to deny the 
faith) in order to save his life. Life and health 
are more important and more valuable than 
liberty, liberty comes before honor, and honor 
ranks above purely material goods. The duties 
connected with these objects are graded accord- 
ingly. Note, however, that, in concreto, the de- 
cision between conflicting duties depends largely 
on circumstances. A soldier engaged in war for 
the defense ot his country will often esteem 
honor higher than liberty, nay than life itself. 

3. In regard to the social rank or standing of 
the persons to whom duties are owing, they may 
be grouped into classes according to family, re- 
ligion,*^ nationality, etc. Inside the family group, 
the duties a person owes his blood relations take 
precedence over those he owes to relatives by 
marriage. Parents are more closely bound to 
their children than to their progenitors. ''Amor 
plus descendit quam ascendit/' Illness or debility, 
will, of course, modify this relation in not a few 

e Cfr. Matth. X, 28, 32-33f 37-39; XVI, 24-26. 
7 Cfr. Gal. VI, 10. 


instances. Again, a man's relation to his parents 
is closer than to his adult brothers or sisters, his 
relation to his sisters is closer than to his broth- 
ers, provided immaturity, disease, unemployment, 
or other circumstances do not change the regular 
order. In saying that man's duties towards those 
of his own faith or religion take precedence over 
the duties he owes to his nationality or country, 
we do not, of course, mean to intimate that im- 
portant patriotic duties may be neglected in favor 
of an enemy who happens to be of the same faith. 

These general rules will in most cases enable a sensible 
and practical man to decide a conflict of duties. Where 
doubts remain, a prudent Catholic will consult his con- 
fessor or a reliable author. Recourse should also be 
had to prayer. He who employs these means conscien- 
tiously will, as a rule, receive sufficient grace to enlighten 
his conscience. When it is impossible to decide which of 
two duties is the more urgent, or what course of action is 
fraught with least danger to the soul, one will do best 
to follow the ancient rule which Bishop Martin restates 
as follows : "If I am unable to decide which of two 
or more conflicting duties I am bound to fulfil, it suffices to 
choose the more probable one, and if probability is unat- 
tainable, I am free to use my own judgment. Even were 
I to make a mistake, I should not sin, for God will regard 
the intention rather than the act. 'Who,' asks St. Au- 
gustine,® 'sins in doing what he cannot possibly 
avoid?' "» 

8 "Quis enim peccat in eo, quod 
nullo modo caveri potest?" — De Lib. 
Arbit., Ill, c. 1 8, n. 50 (Migne, P.L., 
XXXII, 1295); cfr. the same writer's 

Retractationes, I, c. 9, n. 3 and 5 
(P. L., XXXII, 596 sq.). 

9 Bishop Conrad Martin, Lehrbuch 
der kath. Moral, 5th ed., p. 123. 



Different systems have been devised with a view to 
obtaining greater certainty than can be gained by the ap- 
plication of this simple rule. But despite the acumen of 
their inventors, these systems have not brought a satis- 
factory solution. Bishop Linsenmann does not hesitate 
to say that all the systems thus far devised could be cut 
out of the body of Catholic Moral Theology without 
drawing one drop of blood. 

Readings.— Th. Meyer, SJ., Institutiones Juris Naturalis, Vol. 
I, 2nd ed., pp. 448 sqq.— A. A. Waibel, Moraltheologie, Vol. I, 
Ratisbon 1839, pp. 235 sq.— F. X. Linsenmann, Lehrbuch der 
Moraltheologie, Freiburg 1878, pp. 105 sqq.— J. E. Pruner, Katho- 
lische Moraltheologie, Vol. I, 3rd ed., p. loi.— G. Schulze, Ueber 
den Widerstreit der PAichten, Halle 1878. 




We now come to a consideration of the systems 
that have been devised for the purpose of insur- 
ing practical certainty in cases of speculative 
doubt, or, if we may- express the same thought 
somewhat differently, to satisfy oneself whether 
an act, the morah'ty of which is speculatively 
uncertain, is practically allowed or forbidden. 

I. State of the Question. — In all cases 
where a definite decision has to be made under 
conditions which do not admit of full certainty re- 
garding the existence of a law or obligation, a 
man may act safely with what is called a probable 
conscience ( consctentia probahilis ) . Such doubt- 
ful cases owe their existence to the fact that law 
cannot regulate the actions of men in every detail, 
nor adequately express the will of the lawgiver, 
and hence a sphere is left open in which man may 
use his own judgment. 

In every "case of conscience" there are two oppos- 
ing opinions: one in favor of the law {opinio pro lege), 




the other in favor of liberty {opinio pro libertate). 
Neither is certain, but both are more or less probable 
{prohahiles) . Note that the discussion of such cases by 
Catholic moralists never turns on the question, which is 
the more perfect course to pursue ? but merely, what is licit 
or not ? In other words, in trying to solve so-called cases 
of conscience, theologians do not ask : "Which of the 
two actions is the more perfect?" but "Which of the two 
is one obliged to perform under pain of sin?" For ex- 
ample: I am uncertain whether or not to-day is a day 
of fasting. I have reasons for thinking that it is. But 
these reasons are merely probable. What am I to do 
if I cannot obtain reliable information? Am I obliged 
to fast? Or may I, on the strength of the reasons I have 
for thinking it is not a fast-day, absolve myself from the 
duty of keeping the fast? The question at issue is plainly 
one of licitness, not of greater perfection, for no one dis- 
putes that to fast would be the more perfect act. 

2. General Principle. — Aside from Laxism, 
it is a general principle that in case of doubt the 
pars tiitior must be chosen, i. e., that course of ac- 
tion must be followed which most effectively ex- 
cludes the danger of sin. Abstractly and objec- 
tively considered, the opinion in favor of the law 
{opinio pro lege) is the safer {opinio tutior soil. 
a periculo peccandi) for the reason that by fol- 
lowing it one can best avoid the risk of sin. That 
the pars tutior must be followed in all cases is the 
teaching of Rigorism. The so called Probabil- 
istic systems, on the contrary, contend that the 
opinio pro lege does not always furnish moral 



certainty, that such certainty may also be af- 
forded by the opinio pro libertate, and that in case 
of doubt one may consequently, for good reasons 
(probabilitas) , safely follow the latter. 

The controversy thus narrows itself down to the ques- 
tion which of the two opposing opinions, — that favoring 
the law or that favoring liberty, — is safer to follow in 
case of doubt. 

3. The Fundamental Supposition. — ^Man 
is not permitted to act upon a mere opinion, 
but v^hen direct certitude is unattainable, 
should try to reach reflex certitude, based upon 
earnest consideration and careful comparison. 
The conscience or dictate of conscience based 
upon such an opinion is called probabilis. The 
relation of the different conflicting opinions is de- 
termined according to the degrees of intrinsic or 
extrinsic probability v^hich each can claim. 

The difference between intrinsic and extrinsic probabil- 
ity is that intrinsic probability rests upon reasons con- 
tained within the opinion itself, whereas extrinsic proba- 
bility is based on authority. 

A probable opinion (opinio probabilis) may be based 
either on intrinsic or extrinsic grounds, provided these are 
good and solid. 

If two contrary opinions have the same degree of prob- 
ability they are called aequiprobabiles. 

A more probable opinion (opinio probabilior) is one 
that rests on weightier reasons than its opposite, which 



in that case is still probable, but less so (minus probabilis, 
or simply probabilis) . 

When a probable opinion rests on such solid grounds 
that it is almost a certainty, it is called most probable 
(probabilissima) . Its opposite can not, of course, be 
solidly probable, but, in the language of the schools, may 
be pariim vel tenuiter probabilis. 

From what we have said it follows that the probability 
of an opinion is measured by the weight of the intrinsic 
and extrinsic arguments on which it rests. The authority 
which creates extrinsic probability is that of theological 
experts or confessors. 

4. The Scope of Probabilism. — Though, as 
v^e have seen, the claims of liberty may in 
all cases be asserted against those of the 
law, the sphere of liberty in Moral Theology is 
nevertheless greatly restricted, for the reason that 
the safer side (pars tutior) must always be 
chosen where it is absolutely necessary to attain a 
definite end, and where following an opinio proba- 
bilis or even probabilior would involve danger of 
frustration.^ This is the case whenever faith or 
religion are involved, especially in the adminis- 
tration of the Sacraments,^ in medical and surgi- 

1 Cfr. J. P. Gury, Compendium 
Theologiae M oralis, Lyons and 
Paris, 1850, Vol. I, n. 55-56: 
"Non licet sequi opinionem proba- 
bilem nee probabiliorem relicta tu- 
tiore, quoties adest obligatio abso- 
luta alicuius finis determinati ob- 
tinendi, quern usus medii probabiliter 
inepti in periculum adduceret; tunc 
igitur pars tutior est sequendaJ* 

2 Cfr. Gury, op. cit., Vol I, n. 57, 
I and 4: "In iis, quae saluti neces- 
saria sunt necessitate medii, tutius 
sectari cogeris; tantus enim finis prae 
caeteris absolutd prorsus necessitate I 
procurandus est, et proinde media 
absolute tuta et certa sunt adhibenda. 
In rebus igitur ad iinem seu ad 
veram rehgionem pertinentibus pro- 
habilitate reiectd opinio tutior neces- 

I ! 



1^ fi 



cal prescriptions, and when there is an obligation 
to protect the interests of one's f ellowmen.^ 

Hence Probabilism may be applied only when there is 
question of the mere morality, i. e,, the licitness or illicit- 
ness, of an act or omission {^sola actionis honestas). In 
all other cases the pars tutior must be chosen. This is no 
argument in favor of Tutiorism, however, nor an excep- 
tion to the general rule of Probabilism, because in such 
cases there is always present a direct speculative certitude, 
whereas Probabilism was expressly devised for cases in 
which no speculative certitude can be attained. 

5. Absolute Tutiorism or Rigorism. — Ab- 
solute Tutiorism or Rigorism (tutiorismus abso- 
lutus sive rigidus) is based on the principle that 
the opinion v^hich favors the law must be followed 

sario sequenda est. Mine ah Inno- 
centio XI. damnata est sequens pro- 
Positio sub n. 4: 'Ab infidelitate 
excusabitur in fide lis non ere dens, 
ductus opinione minus probabiii.* 
[See Denzinger-Bannwart, n. 1154]. 
Immo in tali casu ne probabiliori 
quidem opinione, tutiori posthabita, 
uti liceret. Minister sacramenti, ubi 
de eius valore agitur, nisi defectus 
suppleatur vel urgeat casus necessi- 
tatis, tenetur sequi tutior em partem 
inquantum moraliter potest, relicta 
minus tuta probabiii vel etiam pro- 
babiliori, quia aliter exponeret sacra- 
mentum periculo nullitatis et proxi- 
mum periculo damni spiritualis. 
Hinc merito damnata est sequens 
propositio ab Innocentio XI. sub n. 
z: 'Non est illicitum in sacramentis 
conferendis sequi opinionem pro- 
babilem de valore sacramenti, re- 

lictd tutiore.* " (Denzinger-Bann- 
wart, n. 1 151). 

3 Gury, op. cit.. Vol. I, n. 57, 2-3: 
** Venator timens ne plumbum in 
feram eiaculando aliquem hominem 
forte laedat, emittere non potest, 
etiamsi probabilius existimaret abesse 
periculum, nam si forte illud adsit, 
Probabilitate contrarid, etiam maiori, 
removeri non potest. Medicus et 
chirurgus tenentur ad medtcamenta 
et media tutiora, quae hie et nunc 
haberi possunt, adhibenda, quia tacito 
contractu ad finem obtinendum, in- 
quantum fieri potest, se obligarunt. 
Idem pariter dxcendum de omnibus 
aliis, qui erga proximum obligationem 
contraxerunt." — Cfr. the Proposi- 
tiones Damnat. sub Innocentio XL, 
n. 2: "Prohabiliter existimo, iudi- 
cem posse iudicare iuxta opinionem 
etiam minus probabilem." (Denzin- 
ger-Bannwart, n. 1 1 52). 



always, and that it is never lawful to follow a 
probable opinion, even though it be probabilis- 
sima, in favor of liberty.* This system is unten- 
able because it misconceives the problem at is- 
sue,^ and has been formally condemned by the 

In order to escape ecclesiastical condemnation a certain 
school of Rigorist theologians modified the fundamental 
tenet of Tutiorism by saying that one may decide in 
favor of liberty only if the opinion favoring that side is 
most probable (probabilissima). This system does not 
differ substantially from absolute Tutiorism and is useless 
for the solution of difficult cases of conscience. Its prin- 
cipal representatives are the Jansenists M. Steyaert 
(_|_ 1701) and J. Obstraet (+ 1720), Henry a Sancto 
Ignatio (+ 1719), and Cardinal H. S. Gerdil (+ 1802) J 

6. Lax Probabilism or Laxism (probabilis- 
mus absolutus sive excessivus). — ^This system 
maintains that the opinion which favors liberty 
may be followed always, even when it enjoys but a 
slight or doubtful degree of probability ( tenuiter 
vel dubie). The Church rejects Laxism for the 
reason that this system is incompatible with the 
dignity of the moral lawJ 


4 Tutiorism was adopted by the 
Jansenists. Its foremost defender 
was the Irish theologian Joan Sin- 
nichius (+ 1666). 

6 Cfr. I Mace II, 31 sqq.; IX, 
44; 2 Mace. V, 25; VI, 11; Matth. 
XXIV, 20. 

6 See the Prop. damn, ab Alexan- 

dra VIII. (Dec. 7» 1690), n. 3: 
"Non licet sequi opinionem vel inter 
probabiles probabilissimam,*' (Den- 
zinger-Bannwart, n. 1293). 

7 A sketch of Card. Gerdil's life 
will be found in the Cath. Encyclo- 
pedia, Vol. VI, p. 471. 

8 Cfr. the Prop, Damnat, sub In- 




Excessively lax propositions were taught by J. Sanchez 
(+about 1620)/ F. Amicus, S.J. (+ i65i)/« St. Bauny, 
S.J. (+i649),ii Thos. Tamburini, S.J. (+1675)," 
J. Caramuel, Ord. Cist. (+ 1682)/^ J. Cardenas, S.J. 
(+1684),!* A. Diana, Ord. Theat. (+ 1663),^^ Z. 
Pasqualigo, Ord. Theat. (+ 1664) ,^« A. Escobar y 
Mendoza, S.J. (+ 1669), ^^ M. de Moya, S.J. (+ 1684),^* 
and others. 

7. Probabiliorism. — This theory contends 
that if a man is in doubt regarding the existence 
of a law, he must nevertheless obey the same and 
may follow the opinion in favor of liberty only if 
that opinion is certainly more probable (certe 
prohabilior) than its opposite. Hence the axiom, 
''In duhio strict o seu aequali pars tutior sequenda 
est/' L e., as long as the conscience is strictly in 

Hocentio XL, n. 3: "Generatim dum 
probabilitate sive intrinsecd sive ex- 
trinsecd, quantumvis tenui, modo a 
probabtlitatis finibus non exeatur, 
con/isi aliquid agimus, semper pru- 
denter agimus." (Denzinger-Bann- 
wart, n. 1153). 

8 John Sanchez must not be con- 
founded with Thomas Sanchez, S.J. 
(+1610). Cfr. Hurter, Nomencla- 
tor Lit. Theol. Cath., Vol. Ill, 3rd 
cd., pp. 592, 893. 

10 See the Catholic Encyclopedia, 
Vol. I, p. 429. 

11 V. supra, p. 63. 

12 On Tamburini see the Cath. 
Encyclopedia, Vol. XIV, p. 441. 

13 Ibid., Vol. Ill, pp. 329 sq. 

14 Ibid., Vol. Ill, pp. 332 sq. 

15 Ibid., Vol. IV, p. 773. 

le Hurter, Nomenclator Lit. Theol, 
Cath., Vol. IV, 3rd ed., col. 298 sqq. 

17 V. supra, p. 62. 

18 Father Matthew de Moya was 
professor of Moral Theology in 
Murcia, Alcala, and Madrid. Under 
the nom de plume "Amadaeus Gui- 
menius" he wrote a book entitled 
Adversus Quorundam Expostula- 
tiones contra Nonnullas Jesuitarum 
Opiniones Morales (Palermo 1657), 
in which he showed that the lax 
doctrines attributed to the Jesuits in 
a libelous pamphlet, Teatro Jesuitico, 
Apologetico Discurso con Saludables 
y Seguras Doctrinas Necessarias a 
los Principes y Sehores de la Tierra, 
by Francisco de la Piedad (also a 
pseudonym), were taught long be- 
fore by other writers. Both the 
Teatro and Moya*s reply were put 
on the Index, where they remain 
even after the Leonine revision. 



doubt, that is to say, while it suspends judg- 
ment without inclining either way, the law must 

be obeyed. 

This principle is theoretically incontrovertible 
but useless for practical purposes, and therefore 
no longer has any followers. While all Catholic 
moralists admit that a man may safely follow 
Probabiliorism, most of them maintain that this 
system is of no value in the solving of doubtful 
cases precisely for the reason that in such cases 
no opinio probabilior is attainable. In practice 
Probabiliorism leads to Tutiorism, and "solves" 
only those cases of conscience which in reality 
are no "cases" at all, because the greater proba- 
bility in favor of one side or the other can be easily 

The most eminent defenders of this system are : Car- 
dinal Cajetan (+ 1534),^" Alexander Natalis (+ 1724), 
Vincent Baronius (+ 1674)." C. R. BiUuart (+ I757). 
D. Concina (+ 1756),^' V. Contenson (+ 1674). P- M. 
Gazz^niga (+1799)." J- B- Gonet (+ 1681),- J. V. 
Patuzzi (-1- 1769),"— all Dominicans— and the Jesuits 
Thyrsus Gonzalez de Santalla (+ 1705).'' M. de Elizalde 

10 On Cardinal Cajetan (Tommaso 
de Vio Gaetani) see the Cath. En- 
cyclopedia, Vol. Ill, pp. 145 sqq. 

20 On Alexander Natalis (Noel 
Alexandre), ibid., Vol. I. pp. 296 sq. 

21 Not to be confounded with the 
famous Jesuit Cardinal Cesare Ba- 
ronius. Brief sketches of both in 
the Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. II, 
pp. 304 ^* 

22 F. supra, p. 57- 

23 V. supra, p. 60. 

24 V. Cath. EncycL, IV, 330. 

25 V. Cath. Encyclopedia, Vol. VI, 

p. 401. 

26 V. supra, p. 60. 

27 V. supra, p. 60. 

28 Gonzales was the thirteenth gen- 
eral of the Society of Jesus, and 
whUe holding that office, published 



i M 

l< i 

1 i 

It j, 


|i < 


(+ 1678)," p. G. Antoine (+ i743),»» and P. CoUet 
(+ 1770)." 

8. Simple or Common Probabilism (proba- 
bilismus simplex sive benignus, communis sive 
latus). — This system teaches that whenever there 
is doubt concerning the mere lawfulness or un- 
lawfulness of an act, it is permissible to follow 
a solidly probable opinion in favor of liberty, 
even though the opposing view be more probable 
iprobabilior) . But why may a more probable 
opinion be relinquished in favor of a less prob- 
able one? To this Probabilism answers as fol- 
lows: If the opinion favoring liberty is truly 
and solidly probable {vere et solide probabilis), 
it must be because the law is doubtful or insuf- 
ficiently promulgated {lex dubia aut non suffi- 
cienter promulgata). Now a doubtful law is not 
binding {lex dubia non obligat), and therefore 
one is at liberty. 

But this statement of the Probabilist posi- 

his famous Fundamentum Theologiae 
Moralis, i. e. Tractatus Theologicus 
de Recto Usu Opinionum (Rome 
1694). It is reproduced in Migne's 
Cursus Theologiae, Vol. XI. — Cfr. 
J. Salsmans, S.J., in the Catholic 
Encyclopedia, Vol. VI, pp. 635 sq.; 
Dollinger-Reusch, Geschichte der 
Moralstreitigkeiten in der rdmisch- 
kath, Kirche, Nordlingen 1889, Vol. 
I, pp. 120 sqq. — For an account of 
the controversies that raged about 
the decree of Innocent XI on Prob- 
abilism see J. Brucker S.J., in the 

Paris Etudes Religieuses, 1901-02, 
and F. Ter Haar, Das Decret Inno- 
cem XI. Uber den Probabilismus, 
Paderborn 1904.— Latin text of the 
decree given by the latter, pp. 29 
sqq. and by Lehmkuhl, Prob. Vind., 
pp. 81 sqq. For an English transla- 
tion see p. 230, note 40, infra. 

29 V, Hurter, Nomenclator Lit, 
Theol. CatK, Vol. IV, 3rd ed., col. 
■86 tq. 

^OV, supra, p. 58. 
81 Cfr. Buchbergcr, KircM. Hand- 
lexikon, I, 964, 



tion does not remove the logical and moral ob- 
jection that Probabilism permits men to follow a 
less probable opinion {sententia minus probabihs 
sic cognita et iudicata) even though its opposite is 
perceived to be more probable. 

"The wise practicians who established the moral sys- 
tem of the Jesuits," says a Protestant ethicist, "correctly 
perceived that probability plays a part in moral conduct, 
and that to reject Probabilism absolutely, would betray a 
hasty judgment. Were man permitted to follow the 
axiom, 'Quod dubitas, ne feceris,' and to act only when 
he knows for certain and without doubt that he is right, 
he would frequently be unable to act at all ; nor would 
abstention from action help him out of the difficulty, for 
the mere omission of an act also entails consequences 
and is equivalent to a definite decision of the will, which 
may be either right or wrong That a certain mode of 
procedure is absolutely right in all circumstances, and 
its opposite absolutely wrong, can be asserted only from 
the standpoint of an omniscient intelligence. Man is^a 
short-sighted creature and can act only if he has the 
courage to make a wrong move and to do something which 
may prove objectively wrong, and which he would not do 
were he better informed. Nevertheless, his conscience 
absolves him from guilt if he has acted to the best of his 
knowledge and understanding in accordance with the 
most probable opinion. The only thing we reject m the 
teaching of the Jesuits is that they base probability pref- 
erably on authority and allow a man to follow an opinion 
which he himself must admit to be less probable. 

82 Ch Sigwart. Vorfragen der d'Innocenf XL contre le ProlM- 
E'w*;nder Tubingen ,,07. PP- »<«»'. P«» '903. PP- 79 Siq.. 99 sqq. 
40 sq'.— Cfr. Mandonnet, Le Decret 


!^ ;ll ^ 









"There can be no doubt," says St. Alphonsus, "that the 
Tutiorists in their excessive rigorism do much damage; 
but on the other hand the ProbabiHsts, who follow an 
opinion which they recognize as less probable (but which I 
no longer regard as probable because the law in its moral 
sense is sufficiently promulgated), are also to blame for 
the loss of many souls." ^^ 

Neither the Fathers nor the early Schoolmen give any 
general rule for determining moral obligation in doubt- 
ful cases. But from the way in which they decided 
controversies it is evident that they were guided by 
the principle that a doubtful law does not bind. Thus St. 
Gregory of Nazianzus addressed the following challenge 
to a Novatian writer who had denounced second marriage 
as illicit : ''Either prove that you are right, or if you 
are unable to bring proof, do not pass judgment. If the 
matter is in doubt, let humanity and convenience ore- 
vail." 3* ^ 

The first theologian who reduced Probabilism to a 
formula and attempted to demonstrate it systematically 
was Bartholomew de Medina, O. P. (+ 1581). In his 
commentaries on the Second and Third Parts of the 
Summa of St. Thomas, this learned writer, who is usually 
called "the Father of Probabilism," defends the proposi- 
tion: "We are permitted to follow a probable opinion 
even if its opposite is more probable." ^^ This thesis was 

^^ Letters, III, 355. 

34 Orat., 39, n. 19 (Migne, P.G., 
XXXVI, 358): "Aut rem ita se 
habere proba, aut, si id nequis, ne 
condemnes. Quodsi res est dubia, 
vincat humanitas et facilitas/' — Cfr. 
Chr. Lupus, Dissertatio de Antiqui- 
tate, Auctoritate et Legitimo Usu 
Sententiae Probabilis {Opera Omnia, 
Venice 1729, Vol. XI, pp. i sqq.). 

36 "Si est opinio probabilis, licitum 

est earn sequi, licet opposita pro- 
babilior sit," (Expositio s. Scholas- 
tica Commentaria in D. Thomae S. 
Theol., la 2ae, qu. 19, art. 6, Sala- 
manca 1577. For a sketch of B. de 
Medina's life see D. J. Kennedy, 
O. P., in the Catholic Encyclopedia, 
Vol. X, pp. 143 sq. Modern writers 
are divided as to Medina's teaching 
on Probabilism. Echard (followed 
by Billuart) maintains that Medina's 



favorably received by the majority of Catholic moralists 
and met with no ex professo opposition until Father 
Andrew Bianchi, S.J., attacked it in his treatise De 
Opinionum Praxi Disputatio, published at Genoa m 

1642.^® . . 

The bitterest opponents of simple Probabilism were the 
Jansenists, especially Blaise Pascal, who, in his famous 
Lettres a un Provincial (1656), attacked Probabilism with 
vigor and grace of style. The result was that many theo- 
logians adopted Probabiliorism. In the ensuing conflict 
which lasted nearly two centuries, Probabilism received 
its hardest blows from the Dominicans. Alexander VII 
(1665), Innocent XI (1679), and Alexander VIII 
(1690) censured a series of propositions which were 
mostly taken from the writings of Probabilistic authors.^ 
At the instance of the last-mentioned Pope, a general chap- 
ter of the Dominicans, held at Rome in 1656, advised all 
members of that Order to espouse Probabiliorism.^^ 
Father Thyrsus Gonzalez, General of the Jesuits, tried to 
banish Probabilism from the Society by publishing an 
anti-Probabilistic work, Fundamentum Theologiae Mor- 

system differed greatly from Prob- 
abilism as expounded by its later 
defenders. H. Hurter, S.J., says of 
him: "Inter principes theohgwe 
scholasticae moralisque cuUores sui 
aevi est habitus et exinde quoque 
celebritatem quondam est nactus, 
probabilismi systemati praelusisse di- 
citur." (Nomenclator Literarius 
Theologiae Catholicae, Vol. Ill, 3rd 
ed., Innsbruck i907» col. 144). Cfr. 
Dollinger-Reusch, Geschichte der 
Moralstreitigkeiten, Vol. I, pp. 28 
sqq.; Ter Haar, De Systemate Mor., 
pp. 17 sqq.; A. Schmitt, Zur Ge- 
schichte des Probabilismus, Inns- 
bruck 1904, PP- 43 sqq. 
86 Andrea Bia»cbi; SJ., is per- 

haps better known by his Latin name, 
Blancus. He died at Genoa, March 
29, 1657. His treatise De Opi- 
nionum Praxi Disputatio was pub- 
lished under the pseudonym "Candi- 
dus Philalethes." It is Tutioristic 
in tendency.— Cfr. Dollinger-Reusch, 
Geschichte der Moralstreitigkeit- 
en, Vol. I, pp. 31 sqq., 51 sqq.; 
Ter Haar, De Syst. Mor., pp. 18 

sqq. ^ , 

87 For a list of these condemned 
propositions see Denzinger-Bannwart, 
n. iioi, 1151, 1289, 1291; A, Rohl- 
ing, Medulla Theol. Mor., pp. 479 
sqq., St. Louis 1875. 

38 Cfr. Dollinger-Reusch, Ge- 
schichte der Moralstreitigkeiten, Vol. 
I, pp. 42 sqq. 





I- !li 



< I 


11 ^« 


alis,^^ The so-called decree of Innocent XI, of June 
26, 1680 (which in reality was merely a protocol of the 
Holy Office), strongly approved of his action.*® 

The present status of Probabilism may be described as 
follows : It has never been either officially approved or 
officially censured by the Church, but was and is toler- 
ated " and upheld by the majority of Jesuit theologians, 
though it is not the official teaching of the Society.*^ 

Lately J. de Caigny, C.SS.R., published several books ^^ 

89 V, supra, p. 225, n. lo.—Cfr. 
A. Lehmkuhl, SJ., Prob. f^ind., pp. 
83 sqq.; A. Koch, "Neue Doku- 
mente zu dent Thyrsus Gonzalez'- 
Streit," in the Theol. Quartalschrift 
of Tubingen, 1905, pp. 95 sqq. 

40 Cfr. Mandonnet, Decret d*In- 
nocent XI., pp. 73 sqq.; Ter Haar, 
Das Dekret Innozenz' XL, pp. 29 
sqq.; G. Arendt, SJ., De Concilia- 
tionis Tentamine nuper Iterate 
Aequiprobabilistas inter et Proba- 
bilistas, Rome 1902 (cfr. the Civiltd 
Cattolica, 1902, quad. 1253, pp. 574 
sqq.). The "decree," the authentic 
text of which was published Apr. 19, 
1902, by the Secretary of the Holy 
Office, reads: "A report having been 
made by Father Laurea of a letter 
directed by Father Thyrsus Gonza- 
lez, S.J., to Our Most Holy Lord; 
the Most Eminent Lords said that 
the Secretary of State must write to 
the Apostolic nuncio of the Spains 
[directing him] to signify to the said 
Father Thyrsus that His Holiness, 
having received his letter favorably, 
and having read it with approval, has 
commanded that he [Thyrsus] shall 
freely and fearlessly preach, teach, 
and defend with his pen the more 
probable opinion, and also manfully 
attack the opinion of those who as- 
sert that in a conflict of a less prob- 
able opinion with a more probable, 
known and estimated as such, it is 

allowed to follow the less probable; 
and to inform him that whatever he 
does and writes on behalf of the 
more probable opinion will be pleas- 
ing to His Holiness. Let it be en- 
joined upon the Father General of 
the Society of Jesus, as by order {de 
ordine) of His Holiness, not only to 
permit the Fathers of the Society to 
write in favor of the more probable 
opinion and to attack the opinion of 
those who assert that in a conflict 
of a less probable opinion . with a 
more probable, known and estimated 
as such, it is allowed to follow the 
less probable; but also to write to 
all the universities of the Society, 
[informing them] that it is the 
mind of His Holiness that who- 
soever chooses may freely write in 
favor of the more probable opinion, 
and may attack the aforesaid con- 
trary [opinion]; and to order them 
to submit entirely to the command 
of His Holiness." (Cfr. J. M. 
Harty in the Cath. Encyclopedia, 
Vol. XII, p. 445). 

41 Cfr. Ter Haar, Das Decret In- 
nocenz XI., pp. 177 sqq. 

42 For some of the leading argu- 
ments for and against Probabilism 
see J. M. Harty in the Cath, En- 
cyclopedia, Vol. XII, pp. 444 sq. 

43 Apologetica, etc. (see p. 2^5, 
infra); De Gemino Probabilismo 
Licito Dissertatio Exarata Conciliot;i 



for the purpose of reconciling Probabilism with ^qui- 
probabilism. His arguments were met by G. Arendt, 

9. iEQUiPROBABiLisM (probabiUsmus mode- 
ra^w^).— iEquiprobabilism takes middle ground 
between Probabiliorism and simple Probabilism. 
It teaches that unless the opinions for and against 
the existence of a law have equal or nearly equal 
probability, it is not permissible to choose in favor 
of liberty. The leading principle of this system, 
which it shares with Probabiliorism, is this: 
'7n obscuris pars certe verisimilior seu pars pro- 
babilior sic cognita et iudicata pro lege sequenda 
est/' However, if the opinions for and against 
the existence of a law have equal or nearly equal 
probability, and there is consequently a state of 
real doubt, it is permissible to follow the less safe 
opinion. Hence the axiom, ''Lex stricte dubia 
non obligatr In other words, when there is 
doubt as to the existence of a law, liberty is in pos- 
session. When there is doubt in regard to 
the cessation of a law, the law remains in posses- 
sion. Consequently, whereas simple Probabilism 

tionis Gratia; De Genuino Morali 
Systemate S. Alphonsi Dissertatio 

44 Apologeticae de Aequiprobabil- 
isfno Alphonsiano HistoricoPhilo- 
sophicae Dissertationis a R. P. J- 
Caigny, C.SS.R., Exaratae Crisis 
iuxta Principia Angelici Doctoris 
Instituta, Freiburg i. B. (Herder). 

— Fr. Lehmkuhl says towards the 
conclusion of his little book, Prob- 
abiUsmus Vindicatus (p. 126): 
"Quod saepius diri, nunc repeto, me 
inter moderatum sive aequiprobabilis- 
mum sive probabilismum discrimen 
theoreticum exiguum, practicum aut 
nullum aut vix ullum agnoscere.'* 






teaches that a man may always follow the opin- 
ion favoring liberty, if that opinion is based on 
good and solid grounds (opinio vere ac solid e 
probabilis), even though he knows that the oppo- 
site opinion is more probable, ^quiprobabilism 
maintains that the less safe opinion may be fol- 
lowed only when it is quite or nearly as probable 
(aeque aut fere aeque probabilis) as its opposite, 
and only when there is question of an obligation 
arising, not ceasing. 

iEquiprobabilism is regarded by some as an ad- 
vance over simple Probabilism, in so far as it sets 
up a practical instead of a purely logical prob- 

The extrinsic reasons in favor of ^Equiprobabilism are 
summed up by Archbishop Simar as follows: "This 
theory is the fruit of long scientific debates and has in 
its favor the presumption that, by dint of logical devel- 
opment, it is the golden mean between the two conflicting 
extremes of absolute Probabilism and Tutiorism. The 
followers of St. Alphonsus may point to the official dec- 
laration of the Church that, unlike Tutiorism and several 
forms of Probabilism, his teaching has never been cen- 
sured. To these advantages must be added the great per- 
sonal authority of the Saint, which deserves to be the more 

46 Cfr. St Alphonsus, Theol. Mor,, tate, amplecti. Ratio quia ad licife 

• I, n. 58: "Ad licite operandum operandum debemus in rebus dubiis 

sola non suMcit probabilitas, sed veritatem inquirere et sequi; at ubi 

requiritur moralis certitudo de hone- Veritas dare inveniri nequit, tenemur 

state actionis."— Cfr. op. cit., I, n. amplecti saltern opinionem illam, 

54: "^» opinio, quae stat pro lege, quae propius ad veritatem accedit, 

videatur certe probabilior, ipsam qualis est opinio probabilior." (Ed! 

omnino sectari tenemur nee possumus Gaude, I, 25). — Cfr. Tcr Haar, Das 

tunc oppositam, quae stat pro liber- Decret Innocenst* XI., pp. 8 aqq. 



highly regarded because the problem in question was for 
him a vital one, which he investigated with the utmost 
conscientiousness and zeal, and also for the further 
reason that the conviction at which he finally arrived has 
stood the test of pastoral experience and triumphantly 
resisted innumerable attacks.'* *^ 

The most prominent representatives of iEquiprobabil- 
ism are the Jesuits Christopher Rassler (+ about 1730) 
and Antony Mayr (+ 1749), Eusebius Amort of the Can- 
ons Regular of St. Augustine (+ I77S)»^' St. Alphonsus 
de' Liguori, founder of the Redemptorist Order,*^ Bishop 
Martin of Paderborn, Archbishop Simar of Cologne, and 
the moral theologians of the Congregation of the Most 
Holy Redeemer. 

46 Th. H. Simar, Lehrbuch der 
Moraltheologie, 3rd cd., p. 143. — 
The translator of this work thinks 
it but fair to note, however, that 
Lehmkuhl and others hold that 
St. Alphonsus never held Aequi- 
probabilistic principles. Lehmkuhl 
{Theol. Mor., ed. iia. Vol. I, p. 
118) illustrates the difference be- 
tween the Saint's teaching and that 
of the Aequiprobabilists as follows: 
Aequiprobabilismus dicit: In sola 
probabilitate legis exist entis obligatio 
non existit. In sola probabilitate 
legis cessantis obligatio non cessavit. 
St. Alphonsus dicit: In sola proba- 
bilitate legis existentis obligatio non 
existit; In sola probabilitate legis 
cessantis obligatio cessavit. — For an 
able defense of the Probabilist posi- 
tion see the same author's Proba- 
bilismus Vindicatus, Freiburg 1906. 
47 Cfr. Ter Haar, De Systemate 
Mor., pp. 20 sqq., 52 sqq. — On 
Amort, see the Cath. Encyclopedia, 
Vol. I, pp. 434 sq. He was one of 
the foremost theologians of the i8th 
century. "St Alphonsus Liguori ad- 
mired his theological prudence, and 

Gur^^-calls him z,Jjpr^bis^xtuta-inode- 
ratus doitrinar^ sapieniid clarus;* 
others (e. g. Toussaint) accuse him 
of an inclination to Rigorism in 
practice." (Thos. J. Shahan, Cath. 
Encycl., Vol. I, p. 434). 

48 ^quiprobabilism "gained vigor 
and persistence from the teaching 
of St. Alphonsus, who began his 
theological career as a Probabiliorist, 
subsequently defended Probabilism, 
. . . and finally, about 1762, em- 
braced -^quiprobabilism. In a new 
dissertation he laid down the two 
propositions that it is lawful to act 
on the less safe opinion, when it is 
equally probable with the safe opin- 
ion, and that it is not lawful to fol- 
low the less safe opinion when the 
safe opinion is notably and certainly 
more probable. In the sixth edition 
(1767) of his 'Moral Theology* he 
again expressed these views, and in- 
deed towards the end of his life fre- 
quently declared that he was not a 
Probabilist." (J. M. Harty in the 
Cath. Encyclopedia, Vol. XII, pp. 
442 sq.; Idem in the Irish Theol. 
Quarterly, Vol. VI, No. 24).— Cfr. 



It is unjust to charge that Probabilism and the 
aUied systems permit man to act on the strength 
of a mere opinion and thus dispense him from 
the duty of regulating his Hf e in accordance with 
the dictates of conscience, which must be the 
highest rule and measure of all morality. Prob- 
abilism, Probabiliorism, and ^quiprobabilism 
were all devised for the express purpose of ena- 
bling man to follow the voice of conscience in 
doubtful cases/® So far from undermining 
morality, these systems, as a whole, deserve great 
credit for having safeguarded the important prin- 
ciple of liberty against the attacks and snares of 
the Jansenists, Rigorists, and Talmudists. 

Readings.— On the moral systems in general: K. Werner, 
System der Ethik, Vol. I, pp. 430 sqq.— W. Wilmers, S.J., Lehrhuch 
der Religion (ed. Lehmkuhl), 6th ed., pp. 537 sqq.— F. X. Linsen- 
mann, Lehrhuch der Moraltheologie, pp. 114 sqq.— F. A. Gopfert, 
Moraltheologie, Vol. I, 6th ed., pp. 168 sqq.— Thos. Slater, SJ., 
A Manual of Moral Theology, Vol. I, pp. 68 sqq.— J. M. Harty 
in the Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. XII, pp. 441 sqq.— M. Cronin, 
The Science of Ethics, Vol. I, pp. 478 sq.— A. Tanquerey, S.S., 
Synopsis Theologiae Moralis, Vol. II, Tournai 1905, pp. 213 sqq.— 
C Gaude, C.SS.R., De Morali Systemaie S, Alphonsi, Rome 1894. 

On Probabilism: F. Ter Haar, De Systemate Morali Antiquo- 
rum Prohahilistariim Dissertatio Historico-Critica, Paderborn 
1894, pp. 77 sqq.— P. F. Mandonnet, O.P., Le Dccrct dlnnoccnt XL 
contre le Prohahilisme, Paris 1903, pp. 99 sqq.— A. Lehmkuhl, 
S.J., Probabilismus Vindicatus, Freiburg 1906, pp. 16 sqq.— L. 
Wouters, C.SS.R., De Minusprobabilismo, Amsterdam, 2nd ed.. 

A. Koch in the Theol. Quartalschrift, 
Tubingen 1897. PP- I09 sqq. 

49 Cfr. Joseph Mausbach, Catholic 
Moral Teaching and its Antagonists, 
pp. 69 sqq.; A. Meyenberg, Dif kath. 

Moral. 2nd ed., pp. 161 sqq.; Ter 
Haar, Vcn. Innoc, XL de Probahi- 
lismo Decreti Histona, Rome 1904, 
pp. 126 sqq. 



1908, pp. 17 sqq.— J. L. Jansen, Geschichte und Kritik im Dienste 
der "Minus probabilis," Paderborn 1906, pp. 14 sqq.— F. Mentre, 
Courot et la Renaissance du Prohahilisme au XIXe Siecle, Paris 
1908.— Chr. Lupus, Dissertatio de Antiquitate, Auctoritate et Legi- 
timo Usu Sententiae Probabilis (Opera Omnia, XI, Venice 1729). 
— Dinneen, De Prohahilismo Dissertatio, Dublin 1898.— J. M. 
Harty in the Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. XII, pp. 443 sqq.— Jos. 
Rickaby, Moral Philosophy, pp. 152 sqq. 

On Probabiliorism : Thyrsus Gonzalez, Fundamentum Theolo- 
giae Moralis, i. e. Tractatus Theologicus de Recto Usu Opinionum, 
Rome 1694.— J. M. Harty in the Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. XII, 
pp. 442 sq.— J. Biederlack, S.J., in the Innsbruck Zeitschrift fiir 
kath. Theologie, 1890, pp. 186 sqq.— L. Wedff, "5. Alphonse est-il 
Probabiliorister in the Revue Thomiste, Paris 1904, PP. 129 sqq., 
477 sqq.— A. Tanquerey, S.S., Synopsis Theologiae Moralis, Vol. 

II, pp. 220 sqq. 

On ^quiprobabilism : Vindiciae Alphonsianae seu Doctoris 
Ecclesiae S. Alphonsi de Ligorio Doctrina Moralis Vindicata a 
Plurimis Oppugnatorihus A. P. Ballerini cura et studio quorun- 
dam Theologorum e Congregatione SS, Redemptoris, 2 vols., 
2nd ed., Bruxelles 1874.— J- De Caigny, C.SS.R., Apologetica de 
^quiprobabilismo Alphonsiano, Tournai 1894. — G. Arendt, S.J., 
Apologeticae de ^quiprobabilismo Alphonsiano Historic o-Philoso- 
phicae Dissertationis a R. P. /. de Caigny Exaratae Crisis iuxta 
Principia Angelici Doctoris, Freiburg 1897, pp. 65 sqq.— Idem, 
^quiprohahilismus ah Ultimo Fundamento Discussus, Rome 1909. 
—Vindiciae Ballerinianae seu Gustus Recognitionis Vindiciarum 
Alphonsianarum, Insunt Dissertationes Ballerini de Systemate S. 
Alphonsi et Altera Dissertatio de Prohahilismo et ^quiproha- 
hilismo eiusdem, Bruges i873-— A. Ballerini, S.J., Opus Theolo- 
giae Moralis (ed. Palmieri), Vol. I, 3rd ed., pp. 606 sqq.— Le 
Bachelet, La Question Ligorienne, Paris 1899, PP- 25 sqq.— J. M. 
Harty in the Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. XII, p. 445.— Berthe- 
Castle, C.SS.R., Life of St, Alphonsus de* Liguori, Dublin 1905. 
—A. Tanquerey, S.S., Synopsis Theologiae Moralis, Vol. II, pp. 
223 sqq.— Sabetti-Barrett, S.J., Compendium Theologiae Moralis, 
22nd ed.. New York 1915, pp. 59 sqq. 





I. Thesis. — Besides those precepts which 
must be observed by all under pain of sin, there 
are others which are intended rather as counsels 
for those who wish to do more than the minimum 
and to attain Christian perfection, so far as this 
is attainable on earth. These Counsels (con- 
silia evangelica) are: voluntary poverty {pauper- 
tas voluntaria) y perpetual chastity (continentia, 
castitas sive virginitas perpettia), and voluntary 
obedience to a spiritual superior (obedientia vo- 

All men without exception are bound to strive 
after perfection, but not in the same way or by the 
same means.^ The so-called Evangelical Coun- 

iCfr. Matth. XIX, 12, 21; XVI. 
24; Luke IX, 33. 

2Cfr. Matth. V, 48; XIX, 12.— 
St. Thomas, Summa Theol., 2a 2ae, 
qu. 184, art. 3: *'Per se quidem et 
essentialiter consistit perfectio chri- 
stianae vitoe in caritate, principaliter 
quidem secundum dilectionem Dei, 
secundario autem secundum dilec- 
tionem proximi, de quibus dantur 
praecepta principalia divinae legis. 
, . . Secundario autem et instrumen- 
taliter perfectio consistit in consiliis. 

quae omnia sicut et praecepta ordi- 
nantur ad caritatem, sed aliter et ali- 
ter. Nam praecepta alia a praeceptis 
caritatis ordinantur ad removendum 
ea, quae sunt caritati contraria, cum 
quibus scilicet caritas esse non pot- 
est; consilia autem ordinantur ad 
removendum impedimenta actHs cari- 
tatis, quae tamen caritati non con- 
trariantur, sicut est matrimonium, 
occupatio negotiorum saecularium et 
alia huiusmodi/* 



sels do not in themselves constitute perfection. 
They are merely surer and more effective means 
of attaining perfection (instrument a per fee- 
tionis). Their superior efficacy arises from the 
fact that they aid powerfully in removing the ob- 
stacles which obstruct the way to Heaven.^ 

While all men have the same ultimate aim, their 
minor ideals differ according to the various of- 
fices and tasks assigned to each. The highest 
of these are represented by the Evangelical Coun- 
sels. How does a counsel differ from a com- 
mandment ? A commandment is a matter of ne- 
cessity, whereas a counsel is left to the free 
choice of the person to whom it is proposed, un- 
less, indeed, it forms part of his vocational 




3 St. Thomas, Summa Theol., 2a 
2ae, qu. 186, art. 7: "Ad exerci- 
tium perfectionis requiritur, quod ali- 
quis a se removeat ilia, per quae 
posset impediri, ne totaliter eius af- 
fectus tendat in Deum, in quo con- 
sistit perfectio caritatis. Huiusmodi 
autem sunt tria: primum quidem cu- 
piditas exteriorum bonorum, quae 
tollitur per votum paupertatis; secun- 
dum autem est concuptscentia sen- 
iibilium delectationum. inter quas 
praecellunt delectationes venereae, 
quae excluduntur per votum conti- 
nentiae; tertium autem est inordina- 
tio voluntatis humanae, quae exclu- 
ditur per votum obedientiae." — 
Ibid., qu. 189, art. i, ad 5: "Prae- 
ceptorum quaedam sunt principalia, 
quae sunt quasi fines praeceptorum 
et consiliorum, scilicet praecepta cari- 
tatis, ad quae consilia ordinantur. 

non ita, quod sine consiliis praecepta 
servari non possint, sed ut per con- 
silia perfectius observentur" 

4 St. Thomas, Summa Theol., la 
2ae, qu. 108, art. 4: "Haec est dif- 
ferentia inter consilium et praecep- 
tum, quod praeceptum importat ne- 
cessitatem, consilium autem in op- 
tione ponitur eius, cui datur; et idea 
convenienter in lege nova, quae est 
lex libertatis, supra praecepta sunt 
addita consilia, non autem in veteri 
lege, quae erat lex servitutis. Opor- 
tet igitur, quod praecepta novae legis 
intelligantur esse data de his, quae 
sunt necessaria ad consequendum 
finem aeternae beatitudinis, in quern 
lex nova immediate introducit; con- 
silia vero oportet esse de illis, per 
quae melius et expeditius potest 
homo consequi Unern praedictum." — 
Ibid., 22l 23ie, qu. 43, art. 7, ad 4: 



The Catholic doctrine of the EvangeHcal Counsels did 
not reach its full development until after the Protestant 
Reformation; but its main ideas are rooted in the very 
substance of Christian morality and clearly expressed in 
both Scripture and Tradition. 

11. Definition and Rationale. — The dis- 
tinction between the precepts of the Gospel and 
the so-called Evangelical Counsels, or counsels of 
perfection, is as old as the Church. It has alv^ays 
been Catholic teaching, ( i ) that there are works 
of supererogation, i. e. good works not enjoined 
as a strict duty; (2) that these works are not 
merely good in opposition to bad, but better in op- 
position to good (opera meliora), and (3) that 
whereas a precept binds of necessity, a counsel is a 
matter of free choice. 

I. Justification, as effected by Baptism or Pen- 
ance, is a state of grace meriting eternal life. 
But grace is merely in an incipient stage; it 
can and should be increased by good works. 
In performing such, man may either content him- 
self with what is of strict duty, or he may eo be- 
yond the province of duty and perform works of 
charity. His reward will be in exact proportion 
to his merits. 

a) The distinction between precepts and 
counsels is distinctly Scriptural. When the 


Quandoque tamen consiliorum oh- lutis, quod patet in his, qui iam 
servatio . . . sunt de necessitate sa- voverunt consilia," 


young man asked what he should do to gain eter- 
nal life, Christ bade him ''keep the command- 
ments,'' and when he pressed the inquiry further, 
saying, ''AH these I have kept from my youth, 
what is yet wanting to me?"— J^sus told him: 
"If thou wilt be perfect, go sell what thou hast, 
and give to the poor, and thou shalt have 
treasure in heaven, and come follow me.'' ^ Here 
we have a clear distinction drawn between obedi- 
ence to the commandments, and poverty as a state 
of higher perfection; between eternal life as the 
reward of ordinary good conduct, and a treasure 
in heaven laid up for those who sacrifice every- 
thing to serve God. This distinction is brought 
out even more clearly by the remark of the at- 
tending disciples, "Behold we have left all things, 
and have followed thee, what therefore shall we 
have ?" and the Master's promise of a special re- 
ward: "In the regeneration [i.e. at the last 
judgment] , when the Son of man shall sit on the 
seat of his majesty, you also shall sit on twelve 
seats judging the twelve tribes of Israel." Jesus 
added : "And every one that hath left house, or 
brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, 
or children, or lands for my name^'s sake, shall 
receive a hundredfold, and shall possess life ever- 
lasting." ^ 

6 Matth. XIX, 16 sqq. 

eMatth. XIX, 16-30; Mark X, 17-31; Luke XVIII, 18-30. 


St, Paul, in his First Epistle to the Corinthians, 
not only presses home the duty incumbent on all 
Christians of abstaining from sins of the flesh, 
but counsels perfect chastity on the ground that 
it is easier for the unmarried to serve God with 
an undivided heart/ A little further on in the 
same Epistle he clearly distinguishes between 
preaching the Gk)spel as a duty incumbent on him 
by virtue of his office, and the supererogatory 
good works (preaching without charge) for 
which he expects a special reward.® 

b) The common sense of mankind has always 
discriminated between the conscientious perform- 
ance of duty and heroic virtue, and awarded spe- 
cial honors to the latter. 

"The difference between matters of duty and matters 
of counsel has a prominent place in the universal concep- 
tion of morality. There are some actions which are re- 
quired of all. There are others which are strictly speak- 
ing not demanded of anybody, but regarded as specially 
meritorious or heroic. If there existed only duties in 
the strict sense, f. e, positive and negative precepts, the 
notion of 'moral heroism' might as well be abolished, at 
least so far as it implies extraordinary self-sacrifice in 
the performance of duty and the idea of something ex- 
ceptionally difficult assumed over and above mere duty. 
In saying this we do not admit Ziegler's charge that Catho- 
lics regard moral heroism as super-moral. To follow the 
Evangelical Counsels is to perform a good work of su- 

T 1 Cor. I, 7. gustine, De Opere Monach,, c. s. n. 

8 I Cor. IX, i-i8.— Cfr. St. Au- 6; c. 6, n. 7. 


perior moral value, something demanded of no one, 
not even of him who might be in a position to perform 
it Is there any reason for assuming that morality does 
not admit of degrees? True, there are certain vocations 
and occupations which oblige those engaged m them, 
to perform duties in excess of the average; but even 
within these vocations we find there are heroic acts not 
strictly required of any one but left to the free choice of 
volunteers." • 

2. All good works are means of attaining per- 
fection ; but some are more effective than others. 
These are called Evangelical Counsels in the nar- 
rower sense. They have a relatively higher value 
than ordinary good works, for three reasons : ( i ) 
because, being more difficult, they demand greater 
effort, (2) because they are directly opposed to 
the three principal agencies of sin, concupiscence 
of the eyes, concupiscence of the flesh, and pride 
of life '^ and (3) because they are of special im- 
portance for the Church and the entire social 
order ^^ In recommending the three Evangelical 
Counsels as ''bonum melius;' the Church does not 
mean to condemn marriage, the holding of prop- 
erty, and the rational use of liberty as mala. 
On the contrary, she expressly upholds these as 


9 Ph. Kneib, Die "JenseiUmoral, 
pp. 96 sq.; cfr. Gen. XLI, 39-45; 
1 Kings XVII, 25. 

10 I John II, 16.— Cfr. St. Thomas, 
Summa TheoU, 2a 2ae, qu. 186, art. 

11 Cfr. Rom. XII, 4 sqq.; i Cor. 

VII, 7, 20.— St. Ambrose, De Vir- 
ginitate, c. 6, n. 34; De Viduis, c. 
14, n. 83. — On the diversitas statuum 
et ofUciorum in Ecclesia cfr. St. 
Thomas, Summa Theol, 22l 2ae, qu. 
183, art 2. 


bona against excessive Rigorism. Voluntary 
chastity no more depreciates marriage than gold 
depreciates silver/^ Moreover, poverty and vir- 

12 Cfr, St. Methodius of Olympus, 
The Banquet, or On Virginity CZv/i» 
iroffiov rj ircpt iyyeias) , II, c i : 
llap$€j/las i\6ovar]s 6 Aoyos ovk 
dveiXe TrdpTrj rijv rcKvoyoviav* 
Ov yap cTTCiS'^ ruiy darepcoy ii 
aeXi^vTj ficl^ujv earl, irapk tovto 
Tuv a\\a>»' daripcjy rb <f>m dvai- 
petrat. (Migne, P. G., XVIII, 48). 
— St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catecheses, 
IV, c. 25: Ml) 5'ai5 irdXiv Karop- 
6<ay rrjv atixppoavyrjv rvifxaO^s 
Kara Tuy VTro^epjjKOTOjy iv ydfi<fi» 
Tlfiioi yap 6 yd/jLos Kal 1) koItt) 
dfiiayrost ws (pfjffiy 6 * AiroffToXos 
(Hebr. XIII, 4). Kal <ri> d t^v 

dyyelay Ix^'' ^^ ^^'^ ^'^ '''^'^ 
yeyafJLTjKSTojy iyeyy^drjs', M-^ yap 
8ti xP^^^^^ KTTJaiy ?Xf*J» "^^ dpyi)- 
pLoy dnodoKlfia^e' dXX eveXiriSes 
iffTwaay Kal ol iy ydfi(^ yofilfiujs 
T^ ydfiM xP^f^^^o^* . , . ol 5td t6 
reKvoyovelVi dXX' ov dtcb rh <^tXi7- 
Soyeiy tw ydficj irpoaeXTjXvdSres* 
(Migne, P. C, XXXIII, 488).— St 
Ambrose, De Viduis, c. 12, n. 72: 
"Honorahile coniugium, sed honora- 
bilior integritas (l Cor. VII, 38). 
Quod igitur bonum est, non vitan- 
dum est; quod est melius, eligendum 
est. Itaque non imponitur, sed prae- 
ponitur," (Migne, P. L., XVI, 
256). — Cfr. Idem, De Virgini- 
tate, c. 6, n. 33-34: "Bona igi- 
tur vinculo nuptiarum, sed tamen 
vincula; bonum coniugium, sed 
tamen a iugo tractum et iugo 
mundi, ut viro potius cupiat placer e 
quam Deo. . . , Nemo ergo vel qui 
coniugium elegit, reprehendat integri- 
tatem, vel qui integritatem sequitur, 
condemnet coniugium. Namque hu- 
ius sententiae adversarios interpret es 
damnavit iamdudum Ecclesia, eos 

scilicet qui audeant solvere copulam 
coniugalem." (P. L., XVI, 274). — 
St Augustine, Contra Secundinum 
Manich., c. 21: "Me fateor in Ec- 
clesia catholica didicisse, sicut ani- 
mam ita et corpus, quorum alterum 
praeditum, alterum subditum est, ita 
bonum animae ac bona corporis non 
esse nisi a summo bono, a quo sunt 
omnia bona, sive magna sive parva, 
sive caelestia sive terrestria, sive 
spiritualia sive corporalia, sive tem- 
poralia sive sempiterna, nee ideo ista 
reprehendenda, quia ilia praefe- 
renda." (P. L., XLII, 597). — Idem, 
De Civ. Dei, XVI, c. 36: "Con- 
stituamus ambos [Abraham et Isaac'\ 
bonos; etiam sic profecto melior est 
coniugatus Udelissimus et obedien- 
tissimus Deo quam continens minoris 
Udei minorisque obedientiae. Si 
vero paria sint caetera, continentem 
coniugato praeferre quis ambigatf** 
(P. L., XLI, 515). — Idem, De Bono 
Coniugali, c. 23, n. 28: "Nulla 
modo dubitandum est, melior em esse 
castitatem continentiae quam casti- 
tatem nuptialem, quum tamen utrum- 
que sit bonum." — Ibid., n. 29: 
"Nuptiae et virginitas duo bona sunt, 
quorum alterum maius.'* (P. L., 
XL, 392, 393). — Idem, Contra lu- 
lian. Pelag., IV, c. 7, n. 38: "Bo- 
num opus est nuptiarum, generandi 
causa commixtio legitima sexuum, 
cuius operis fructus est ordinata 
susceptio niiorum." (P. L., XLIV, 
758). — Idem, De S. Virginitate, c. 
18: "Sectatores et sectatrices per- 
petuae continentiae et sacrae virgini- 
tatis admoneo, ut bonum suum ita 
praeferant nuptiis, ne malum iudicent 
nuptias. Neque fallaciter, sed plane 
veraciter ab Apostolo dictum [/ Cor, 


ginity are bona meliora only when chosen from 
truly moral, and especially religious, motives.^^ 

It is impossible to speak more respectfully of the mar- 
ried state than many pious monks have done at different 

VII, zS, 38, 40] noverint. . . . Haec 
dominica, haec apostolica, haec vera, 
haec Sana doctrina est, sic eligere 
dona maiora, ne minora damnentur." 
(P. L., XL, 404).— Idem, Sermo 104 
(a/, de verb. Dom., 27), c. 3, n. 4: 
"Ambae ^Martha et Maria'\ fuerant 
Domino gratae, ambae amabiles, am- 
bae discipulae," — Ibid., c. 2, n. 3* 
"Non ergo Dominus opus reprehen- 
dit, sed niunus distinxit. . . . Transit 
labor multitudinis et remanet caritas 
unitatis." (P. L., XXXVIII, 617). 
—St. Jerome, Epist., 48 ial. 50), n. 
2: "Non ignoramus honorabiles 
nuptias et cubile immaculatum. he- 
gimus primam Dei sententiam: 'Cre- 
scite et multiplicamini et replete ter- 
ram' (Gen. I, 28). Sed ita nuptias 
recipimus, ut virginitatem, quae de 
nuptiis nascitur, praeferamus, 
Numquid argentum non erit argen- 
tum, si aurum argento pretiosius 
est r"— Ibid., n. 17: "-S"* dixero, me- 
lius est virginem esse quam nuptam, 
bono melius praetuli. Si autem alte- 
rum gradum fecero, melius est nu- 
bare quam fornicari, ibi non bono 
melius, sed malo bonum praetuli. 
Multa diversitas est inter id melius, 
quod nuptiis, et inter id, quod forni- 
cationi anteponitur." (P. L., XXII, 
495, 507).— Idem, Epist., 22, n. 19* 
"Dicat aliquis: et atides nuptiis de- 
trahere, quae a Deo benedictae sunt? 
Non est detrahere nuptiis, quum ilHs 
virginitas antefertur. Nemo malum 
bono comparat." (P. L., XXII, 
405).~C<?nc. Lat. IV. (a. 1215), c i: 
"Non solum virgines et continentes, 
verum etiam coniugati per rectam 
adem et operationem bonam placentes 

Deo ad aetemam merentur beatitu- 
dinem pervenire." (Denzinger-Bann- 
wart, n. 430). — C. Kollin, O.P. 
(_|_ 1536), Eversio Lutherani Epitha- 
lamii, Cologne 1527*. " Matrimoniale 
bonum neutiquam vituperatur, dum 
sibi virginale anteponitur, quemad- 
modum nee luna vilipenditur, quando 
sol in luminis claritate ei praefertur. 
. . Num argentum iniurid aMcit 
die ens aurum argento melius?" Ac- 
cording to P. Kollin, who was a 
prominent Dominican preacher and 
missionary of the i6th century, 
"celibacy is in itself preferable to 
matrimony; but he who has not the 
grace of continence, does better 
(melius facit) if he marries." Cfr. 
N. Paulus, Die deutschen Domini- 
kaner im Kampfe gegen Luther, 
Freiburg 1903, pp. 124 sq.; F. Falk, 
Die Ehe am Ausgange des Mittelal- 
ters, Freiburg, 1908. 

13 Cfr. I Cor. XIII, i-3.--St. Au- 
gustine, De Bono Coniugali, c. 10, n. 
10: "Quid si, inquiunt, omnes ho- 
mines velint ab omni concubitu con- 
tinere, unde subsistet genus hu- 
manum? Utinam omnes hoc vellent, 
dumtaxat in caritate de puro corde et 
conscientia bona et fide non ficta. ' 
(Migne, P. L., XL, 381).— Idem, De 
S. Virginitate, c. i : "Quibus dictum 
est: 'Qui potest capere, capiat' [Mt. 
ig, I2'\, exhortandi sunt, ne terrean- 
tur, et terrendi, ne extoUantur. Non 
solum ergo praedicanda est virgini- 
tas, ut ametur, verum etiam mo- 
nenda, ne xnUetur." (P. L., XL, 
397). — Idem, Enarr. in Ps., 99» n. 
13: "Melius est humile coniugium 
quam superba virginitas." (P. L., 


periods in the Church's history. Thus Brother Berthold 
of Ratisbon (+ 1272) says in one of his sermons: "God 
sanctified Matrimony by making it one of His seven Sac- 
raments. It is holier than any order ever founded, more 
sacred than that of the barefooted friars, or the preachers, 
or the grey monks. In certain respects none of these 
orders can be compared with marriage, because marriage 
is a necessary order, and therefore strictly enjoined by 
God, whereas all other orders are merely of counsel. 
How could the predestined number of the elect ever 
be reached without Matrimony V* ^* 

The Church has one standard of morals for all because 
the moral law is one, though its application may vary. 
Christian perfection, which is the ideal of every Catholic, 
consists in observing the precept of charity, i. e., loving 
God and one's fellowmen. The Evangelical Counsels do 
not constitute perfection, but they are means of fulfilling 
the precept of charity more perfectly.^* 

"It is a mistake," writes Father A. M. Weiss, O.P., the 

XXXVII, 1280).— Idem, Serm., 4 
(a/. 44 de Diversis), n. 20: "Sancti 
non sunt, nisi qui habuerit\t carita- 
tetn. . . . Qualis ergo caritas, quae 
sola multum prodest, sine qua caetera 
nihil prosunt?" (P. L., XXXVIII, 


14 Cfr. Denifle-Volz, Luther and 

Lutherdom, Vol. I, P. i, pp. 261 
sqq. ; A. M. Weiss, O.P., Luther- 
psychologie, 2nd ed., pp. 120 sqq.; F. 
Falk, Die Ehe am Ausgange des Mit- 
telalters, Freiburg 1908. 

15 Cfr. St. Thomas, Summa Theol., 
la 2ae, qu. 108, art. 4: "Consilia 
oportet esse de his, per quae melius 
et expeditius potest homo consequi 
Unern praedictum." — Idem, ibid., 2a 
2ae, qu. 184, art. 3, ad i: *'Ex 
ipso modo loquendi apparet, quod 

consilia sunt quaedam instrument a 
perveniendi ad perfectionem." — 
Ibid., art. 5, ad 2: Dicendum, quod 
homines statum perfectionis assu- 
munt non quasi profitentes seipsos 
perfectos esse, sed profitentes se ad 
perfectionem tendere. . . . Unde non 
committit aliquis mendacium vel si- 
mulationem ex eo, quod non est per- 
fectus, qui statum perfectionis as- 
sumit, sed ex eo, quod ab intentione 
perfectionis animum ^relinquit/' — 
Ibid., qu. 186, art. i, ad 3: "Reli- 
gio nominat statum perfectionis ex 
intentione finis.*' — Ibid., qu. 188, art. 
7: "Religio ad perfectionem carita- 
tis ordinatur." — Cfr. Denifle-Volz, 
Luther and Lutherdom, Vol. I, P. i, 
pp. 146 sqq. — Weiss, Lutherpsycho- 
logie, 2nd ed., pp. iii sqq. 


famous apologist, "to assert, as Protestants do, that from 
the Catholic point of view the only genuine Chnstians are 
the members of religious orders and all others are second- 
rate and inferior. The only excuse for asserting such 
a foolish thing is that some religious have praised 
their state of life in exaggerated terms. ... It is wrong 
to say that those who have embraced religion are the 
only real or first-rate Christians. There are no sec- 
ond-rate Christians or Christians improperly so called. 
But it is perfectly true that religious men and women 
strive to become perfect Christians, that they are bent on 
practicing their faith honestly and sincerely. True, this 
should be the aim of all and, generally speakmg, can be 
attained by all who try. Yet, since the world offers in- 
numerable impediments to the higher life, there have 
always been those who preferred to withdraw as much 
as possible from the world, in order more securely to fulfil 
the task incumbent upon all. This is the origin and mean- 
ing of the religious life." " 

That the Evangelical Counsels involve a bonum 
melius is taught in Sacred Scripture both directly 
and by implication. 

Christ says: "There are eunuchs who were 
born so from their mother's womb : and there are 
eunuchs who were made so by men: and there are 
eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for 
the kingdom of heaven. He that can take, let him 
take it." " Here we have a clear-cut distinction 
between those who remain unmarried for God's 
sake and those who "take not this word" because 

16 Weiss, op. cit., p. 125 sqq. 

17 Matth. XIX, 1 1 sq. 


they cannot understand it. Hence voluntary cel- 
ibacy is an ethical ideal that is not enjoined on all, 
but may be attained by those who have a special 
vocation and grace. 

St. Paul says : "Concerning virgins I have no 
commandment of the Lord/^ but I speak my 
mind/^ as one by the mercy of God rendered trust- 
worthy. I think ^ therefore that this (state) is 
good on account of the present distress — that it is 
good for a man so to be. Art thou bound to a 
wife ? Seek not to be loosed. Art thou not (so) 
bound ? Seek not a wife. But if thou marry, thou 
hast not sinned ; and if a virgin marry, she hath 
not sinned. Yet such (as marry) shall have afflic- 
tion in the flesh ; but I spare you. But this I say, 
brethren, the time is short: henceforth let those 
that have wives be as having them not, and those 
that weep as weeping not, and those that rejoice as 
rejoicing not, and those that buy as possessing not, 
and those that use the world as not using it to the 
full. For the world as we see it is passing away. 
My desire is to have you free from care. He that 
is unmarried hath a care for the things of the 
Lord, how he may please the Lord ; but he that is 
married hath a care for the things of the world, 
how he may please his wife, and he is drawn dif- 
ferent ways. So also the unmarried woman and 
the virgin hath a care for the things of the Lord, 

18 iinray^v Kvplov* 19 yvtafiriy. 

20 vofll^Of. 


that she may be holy both in body and soul, whilst 
the married woman hath a care for the things of 
the world, how she may please her husband. Now 
this I say for your own profit, not that I may cast 
a snare upon you, but for the sake of seemly a,nd 
devoted and undistracted service of the Lord. 
But if any man thinketh that he incurreth re- 
proach as regards his virgin (daughter, by keep- 
ing her unmarried), she being past her youth, and 
if (in the circumstances) it ought so to be done, 
let him act as he wisheth : he sinneth not : let them 
be married.^^ But he that standeth steadfast in 
his heart, being under no necessity but having 
power to accomplish his own will, and hath de- 
termined in his heart to keep his (daughter a) 
virgin— he shall do well. In a word, he that giv- 
eth his virgin (daughter) in marriage doth well,^^ 
and he that giveth her not shall do better." ^^ Of 
a widow he says: ''She is free to marry whom 
she will: only (let it be) in the Lord. But she is 
more blessed if she remain as she is, in my judg- 
ment ;^^ and methinks I too have the spirit of 
God." ^^ The Apostle, therefore, though he em- 
phasizes the cares and trials of the married state. 

21 yafielrwaav- 

22 KaXws TTOict, bene facU. 

23 Kpelffffov TTOtet, melius facit, 

24 KaTOL TTJV €/JL^V yv<afl7}V. 

25 I Cor. VII, 25-40. (We use 
the Westminster Version). — Cfr. 
Cone. Trident, Sess. XXIV, can. lo. 
—J. Rohr, Paulus und die Qemeinde 

von Korinth, Freiburg 1899, pp. 62 
sqq.; H. Achelis, Virgines Subintro- 
ductae, Leipsic 1902, pp. 30 sqq.; 
J. McRory, St. Paul's Epistles to 
the Corinthians, P. I, pp. loi sqq.; 
Lutz, Die kirchliche Lehre von den 
evangelischen Raten, Freiburg 19091 
pp. 69 sqq. 



and the great advantages of virginity, does not 
''cast a snare," i. e., does not bind the faithful, 
but, distinguishing clearly between the divine 
command and his personal opinion, recommends 
virginity for the sake of God, i. e., for a higher 
moral end, as something that is better than mar- 
riage — a bonum melius. Similarly, when he 
asks for alms to succor the needy, he makes a dis- 
tinction between precept and counsel, saying: 
''I speak not as commanding; ... I give my ad- 


yy 26 

The so-called Apostolic Constitutions declare: 
"As regards virginity, we have received no pre- 
cept, but leave it as a matter of conscience^'' 
to the decision of those who choose it freely. 
But we exhort them not to make a vow lightly. 
. . . When [a virgin] has vowed chastity, her 
deeds must correspond with her vow, in order 
that people may know that she took her vow with 
a serious intention, not to show contempt for mar- 
riage, but to give proof of piety." ^® 

3. A precept, as said above, is a matter of 
strict obligation, whereas a counsel is left to the 
free choice of the person to whom it is proposed. 
Man is at liberty to choose between what is good 
and what is better.^® There is no law compelling 

20 2 Cor. VIII, 8 sqq. ; cfr. i 
Thess. IV, 2; 2 Thess. Ill, 6, 12; 
I Tim. VI, 13 sq. 

27 lis eix'i''' 

28 ConstU. Apost, IV, c. 14 (ed. 
Funk, I, 235). 

2» X Cor. VII, 37 sqq.; 2 Cor. 
VIII, 7 sqq.; IX, 7; Philem. 13 sqq. 



him to choose the more perfect means for attain- 
ing his end. It follows that to choose the less 
perfect means is no sin, and that every man is 
free to do so in case of doubt. But it also follows 
that those who feel morally certain that they are 
called to a life of higher perfection, are bound to 
obey the call. 

*The Evangelical Counsels," says Bishop Martin, "are 
appointed for the perfection of the faithful in general, 
not of each individual in particular. There are circum- 
stances which may render it impossible or dangerous for 
an individual to follow these counsels. . . . Hence God 
does not will all to follow them, but only those whom He 
has called and who are not prevented by other duties. On 
the other hand, a counsel may sometimes become a duty. 
Thus if I know that I cannot save my soul in the 
world, I am obliged to enter a religious order, because 
otherwise I should expose myself to great danger. But 
even in such a case it is not the counsel as such that binds, 
but the duty of choosing the right vocation." ^^ 

III. It is unnecessary to prove our thesis from 
Tradition. The Catholic Church is, so to speak, 
erected upon the Evangelical Counsels. The 
ideas of poverty and obedience are embodied in 
Christ Himself,^' and the high value of virgin- 

— Cfr. Cone. Trident, Sess. XXV, 
de Regul, et MoniaL, c. 17. — F. 
Sawicki, KathoUsche Kirche und 
sittliche Personlichkeit, Cologne 
1907, pp. 102 sqq. 

30 C. Martin, Lehrbuch der kath. 
Moral, 5th ed., pp. 88 sq.; cfr. St. 
Thomas, Sumtna contra Gentiles, 

III, c. 134; F. X. Linsenmann, Lehr- 
buch der Moraltheologie, pp. 142 
sqq.; A. Ott, Die Bettelorden und 
ihre Verteidigung durch Thomas von 
Aquin, Treves 1903, PP- 26 sqq. 

31 Cfr. Matth. VIII, 20; XXVI, 
42; Mark XIV, 36; Luke II, 7. 5i; 
VIII, 2 sq.; XXII, 42; John IV, 


ity appears from His life and that of His Blessed 
Mother.^^ The Shepherd of Hermas clearly in- 
culcates the Catholic doctrine of supereroga- 
tory works.^^ A number of treatises on virgin- 
ity by St. Cyprian, St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, 
St. Jerome, St. Methodius, and St. Gregory Nazi- 
anzen give testimony to the belief of the early 
Church in the Evangelical Counsels. St. Augus- 
tine, paradoxical though it may sound, while he 
did not employ the term opus super erogationis, 
actually created it.^^ From the very beginning 
the Church put the Evangelical Counsels into 

34; V, 30; VI, 38; Rom. V, 19; 2 
Cor. VIII, 9; Phil. II. 7 sq.; Heb. 
V, 8; X, 7 sqq. 

82 Matt. I, 18-25; Luke I, 34-38. 
^Cfr. G. M. Galfano, La Vergine 
delle Vergini, Palermo 1882, pp. 
237 sqq.; Pohle-Preuss, Mariohgy, 
2nd td., St. Louis 19 1 6, pp. 83 sqq.; 
Schaefer-Brossart, The Mother of 
Jesus in Holy Scripture, New York 
>9i3» pp. 10 sqq.; O. Bardenhewer, 
Mariae Verkundigung, Freiburg 
1905; M. Meinertz, Der Jakobus- 
brief, P'reiburg 1905, pp. 16 sqq.; E. 
Neubert, Marie dans VEglise Ante- 
niceenne, Paris 1908. — On the Jewish 
view of virginity see Lev. XXI, 1-3, 
13; V. Zapletal, O.P., Alttestament- 
Itches, Fribourg (Switzerland), 1904, 
pp. 78 sqq.; H. Weiss, Das GelUbde 
Jephtes, Braunsberg 1907; E. Mader, 
Die Menschenopfer der alien He- 
braer, Freiburg 1909. — On the essen- 
tial distinction between Christian 
and Vestal virgins, see J. Lip- 
sius, De Vesta et Vestalibus 
Syntagma, Antwerp 1603, pp. 31 
tqq.; St Ambrose, De Vlrginibus, 

I, c. 4, n. 15; De Virginitate, c. 
3, n. 13; Epist., XVIII, n. ii; St. 
Augustine, Contra Faust. Manich., 
XX, c. 21; Prudentius, Contra Sym- 
mach., II, V. 1054 sqq. 

83Cfr. V. Schweitzer, **Der 
Pastor Hermae und die Opera su- 
pererogatoria," in the Theol. Quar- 
talschrift, Tubingen, 1904, pp. 539 
sqq.; A. Harnack, Mission und Aus- 
breitung des Christcntums, Vol. I, 
2nd ed., Leipsic 1906, pp. 186 sq. 

84 Cfr. St. Augustine, De S. Vir- 
ginitate, c. 30: "Neque enim sicut 
'non moechaberis, non occides,' ita 
did potest, *non nubes.' Ilia exi- 
guntur, ista offeruntur. Si fiant ista, 
laudantur; nisi fiant ilia, damnantur. 
In illis Dominus debitum itnperat 
vobis, in his autem, si quid amplius 
supererogaveritis, in redeundo red- 
det vobis:* (Migne, P. L„ XL. 
412). — The oft (but wrongly) 
quoted Serm. 16 de Temp, was not 
written by St. Augustine. Cfr. Ps.- 
Augustine, Append, Serm., 273 (o/. 
61 de Temp.), in Migne's P. L., 
XXXIX, 2258. 


practice and rejected the claims of Helvidius, Jo- 
vinian, Vigilantius,^' and other heretics who at- 
tacked them.^^ 

The principle underlying the Catholic teaching on the 
counsels was never seriously challenged until the time of 
the so-called Reformation. Protestants maintain that 
. the commandment of perfect charity binds all men, 
and that no one can go beyond it. But Christ plainly 
says that we love God if we "keep His commandments. 
Hence if we wish to love God, we must perform the 
good deeds required of us as a matter of duty, and 
avoid sin. But in the choice of means we are free. 
We can choose either the more or the less perfect. In 
other words, we are not bound to love God in the most 
perfect manner possible, or do all the good we can do, 
or always choose that which is better in preference to that 
which is simply good. To practice the highest conceiv- 
able degree of charity {amor intensive summus) is a 
privilege reserved to the holy souls in Heaven. 

Another Protestant objection is that every man is 
bound to become constantly more perfect, and no one can 
achieve more or merit a greater reward than the rest. 
Those who raise this objection rest it on Luke XVII, 10: 
"When you shall have done all these things that are com- 

85 Cfr. St. Jerome, Liber de Per- 
petua Virginitate B. Mariae adv. 
Helvidium; Libri Duo ad lovinia- 
num; Liber contra Vigilantium 
(Migne, P. L., XXIIII, 183. 212, 
339). Cfr. Denzinger-Bannwart, n. 
601 sqq.; W. Haller, Jovinianus, 
Leipsic 1897* P- MS*. W. Schmidt, 
Vigilantius, Miinster i860, pp. 48 
sqq.; A. Reville, Vigilance de Cala- 
gurris, Paris \go2. 
86 Cfr. J. Wilpcrt, Die gottgeweih- 

fen Jungfrauen in den ersten Jahr- 
hunderten der Kirche, Freiburg 
1892, pp. 6 sqq. 

37 Cfr. John XIV, 21, 23 SQ-J 
XV, 10; I John II, 3-6; V, 3; .2 
John VI.— St. Gregory the Great, 
Horn, in Evang., XXX, n. 1: 
"Veritas dicit: Siquis diligit me, 
sermonem meum servabit. Probatio 
ergo dilectionis exhibitio est operis." 
(Migne, P. L., LXXVI, 1220). 



manded you, say : We are unprofitable servants ; we have 
done that which we ought to do." The command to be 
as perfect as possible binds all. But no one is bound to be 
always doing the most perfect good work he is capable of. 
Every man is free to choose between the various means 
that lead to perfection. To deduce from the general 
precept which bids us to strive after perfection, the strict 
duty of doing not only that which is good, but that which 
is better, nay the best we are capable of, would lead 
to undue rigorism. On the other hand, upon closer 
examination the Scriptural text quoted will be found to 
contain nothing more than an enunciation of the funda- 
mental truth that whatever good there is in us we owe 
primarily to the grace of God, and therefore we should 
always be humble.^^ 

Readings. — St. Thomas, Summa Theol, la 2ae, qu. io8, art. 
4; 2ae 2ae, qu. 184, art. 3 and 4; qu. 186, art. 3-7. — Idem, Summa 
contra Gentiles, III, c. 130-137 (Rickaby, God and His Creatures, 
London 1905, pp. 293 sqq.) — Idem, An Apology for the Religious 
Orders, Edited by J. Procter, London 1902. — A. M. Weiss, O.P., 
Apologie des Christentunts, Vol. V, 4th ed., pp. 213 sqq. — A. Win- 
terstein, Die christliche Lehre vom Erdengut, Mayence 1898, pp. 
87 sqq. — J. G. Earthier, De la Perfection Chretienne, Vol. II, pp. 
5, 39, 105, 150. — J. Mausbach, Catholic Moral Teaching and its 
Antagonists (tr. by Buchanan), New York 1914, pp. 270 sqq. — H. 
Denifle, O.P., Luther and Lutherdom (tr. by Volz), Vol. I, p. i, pp. 
146 sqq. — F. J. Lutz, Die kirchliche Lehre von den evangelischen 
R'dten, Paderborn 1907, pp. 48 sqq. — Mutz, Christliche Assetik, pp. 
56 sqq. — B. Kuhn, Vers la Vie Divine, Paris 1908, pp. 39 sqq.—A. 
S. Barnes in the Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. IV, pp. 435 sq. — H. J. 
Qadder, S.J., Als die Zeit erfUllt war, Freiburg, 1915. 

88 John XV, 5; I Cor. I, 31; III, 
7; 2 Cot. Ill, 5; X, 17. — Cfr. Cone. 
Trident., Sess. VI, c. 16: "Absit ut 
christianus homo in se ipso vel con- 
fidat vel glorietur, et non in Domino, 
cuius tanta est erga homines bonitas, 

ut eorum velit esse merita, quae 
sunt ipsius dona." — Cfr. St. Celes- 
tine, Epist. ad Episc. Galliae, I, c. 
12, n. 14 (Denzinger-Bannwart, n. 




1. Man is composed of body and soul. His 
acts, to be truly human, must bear the mark of 
those faculties which distinguish him from the 
lower orders of creation, namely, understand- 
ing and free-will. A human act {actus hu- 
manus), in contradistinction to an act of man 
(actus hominis), is characterized by three essen- 
tial qualities : — knowledge, voluntariness, and 
freedom. "All three are necessary to it, and, 
as necessary, they are called 'principles' of the hu- 
man act.'' ^ 

2. A human act does not necessarily manifest 

1 M. Cronin, The Science of Eth- 
ics, Vol. I, p. 33.— Cfr. Gury, Com- 
pendium Theol. Mor., I, n. i : "Ac- 
tus humanus est ille, qui procedit a 
deliberata hominis voluntate, seu est 
actus procedens a voluntate libera 
cum advertentia ad bonitatem vel ma- 
litiam moralem. Actus igitur huma- 
nus idem sonat ac actus moralis. 

Hinc differt ab actu hominis, qui fit 
in homine, vel ab homine absque 
ulla deliberatione, ut sunt actus in- 
deliberati concupiscentiae, seu motus 
primoprxmi, vel actus hominis penir 
tus distracti, somniantis, delirantis, 
amentis, ebrii aut usu rationis quo- 
cunque modo destituti." 




itself externally (actus externus) but may be 
completed within the will {actus mternus). 

3. A human act need not be positiveK^ut may 
consist in an omission, for freely/ to omit an act 
is as imputable to the will as to perform it. If an 
omission {omissio, actus omissus) is the result of 
culpable inadvertence or carelessness, it is volun- 
tary in the cause {voluntarium in causa). 

4. A human act, being the product of a finite 
creature, is not what thfe Scholastics call actus 
purus, i. e., it is not conceived and consummated 
simultaneously, but passes through a series of 
distinct periods of time. First an impression 
is made on the senses. This leads to a notion or 
concept, which is presented by the intellect as 
desirable to the will. As soon as the will con- 
sents, there is an actus internus. When this in- 
ternal act sets the bodily powers in motion and be- 
comes external, there results an actus externus. 
An act that has run through all these stages is 
called complete or perfect.^ 

Readings.— St. Thomas, Summa Theol., la 2ae, qu. 18-20 
(Rickaby, Aquinas Ethicus, Vol. I, pp. 55 sqq.).— St. Alphonsus, 
Theologia Moralis, 1. V. (ed. Gaude, Rome 1905 sqq., Vol. II, 

2Cfr. Gury, Comp. Theol. Mor„ 
I, n. 4, 3: "iVoluntarium distingui- 
tur} perfectum vel imperfectum, 
prout habetur cum plena cognitione 
plenoque consensu, seclusd omni vo- 
luntatis repugnantid, out cum imper- 
fecta cognitione vel imperfecto 
consensu vel etiam cum aliqua re- 

pugnantia voluntatis, Hinc volun- 
tarium istud imperfectum duplex est: 
i^ Stride imperfectum, nempe deH- 
ciente plena cognitione aut plena 
consensu, a" late imperfectum, re- 
pugnante quidem aliquatenus volun- 
tate, sed remanente liberd et abso- 
lute consentiente" 



pp. 689 sqq.).— V. Cathrein, S.J., Moralphilosophie, 4th ed., Frei- 
burg 1904, Vol. I, pp. 284 sqq.— L. Sacotte, Traite des Actes Hu- 
maines, Paris 1905.— J. Bucceroni, S.J., De Actibus Humanis, 3rd 
ed., Rome 1906.— M. Cronin, The Science of Ethics, Vol. I, 
pp. 30 sqq.— R. I. Holaihd, S.J., Natural Law and Legal Practice, 
New York 1899, pp. 71 sqq.— Thos. Slater, S.J., A Manual of 
Moral Theology, Vol. I, pp. i sqq.— V. Frins, S.J., De Actibus 
Humanis, Vol. II, Freiburg 1904.— A. Sweens, Theologia Moralis 
Fundamentalis, Haaren 1910, pp. 31 sqq.— Sabetti-Barrett, S.J., 
Compendium Theologiae Moralis, 22nd ed.. New York 1915, Pp. 
10 sqq. 



I. Notion of Imputability. — There is a dis- 
tinction between responsibility, imputability, and 

'^Responsibility is the condition of a man who, 
having sufficient knowledge, and being free from 
coercion, can act or not act, as he chooses, and is 
therefore accountable for his determination. 
Imputability is the character of an act which is 
freely performed, so that the good or evil of it is 
attributable to him who performs it. The mo- 
rality or immorality of an act is its conformity or 
non-conformity with the moral law." ^ 

Imputation is the judgment by which a man is 
declared to be the free cause of an act and held 
responsible for its consequences. 

Before judgment on the authorship of an act 
can be definitely pronounced, it is necessary to in- 
quire, ( I ) whether the agent to whom the act is 
imputed is really its author (imputatio facti)y 
and (2) whether he was free to act and is re- 
sponsible for his conduct {imputatio iuris sive 

1 R. I. Holaind, S.J., Natural Law and Legal Practice, p. 84. 




The judgment by which an act is imputed to 
a man is pronounced either by his own con- 
science ^ or by civil or ecclesiastical authority, and 
may be true or false. God alone always ''judg- 
eth justly,"' because He is ^^the searcher of 
hearts.'' ^ Human judgments are just only in so 
far as they coincide with those of God. 

11. The Essential Conditions of Imputa- 
bility.— i. A man is responsible for an act (be 
it of commission or omission) in exact proportion 
to the degree of liberty which he enjoys. Hence 
only free acts are imputable, I e., attributable to 
the agent for reward or punishment. In other 
words, where there is no freedom of choice, there 
is no imputability, and the greater a man's power 
to determine his actions, the greater his merit or 
demerit, and vice versa.^ 

2. Of course, no human being is entirely free. 
It was shown in the first part of this treatise how 
the will is influenced by individual as well as 
social factors. In addition to these there are 
certain others which diminish responsibility, e. g., 
ignorance, inadvertence, habit, and various men- 
tal disturbances. 

2 Cfr. I Cor. IV, 3 sq.— St. 
Thomas, Summa TheoL, la 2ae, qu. 
112, art. 5; Theo. Meyer, S.J., 
Institutiones Iuris Naturalis, Vol. I, 
2nd ed., pp. 173 sqq. 

8 Jer. XI, 20. 

4Ps. VII, 9 sq.; cfr. Jer. XVII, 

10; XX, 12; John II, 25; Rom. 
XIV, 4, 10; Acts I, 24; XV, 8; 
I Cor. IV, 5; 2 Cor. V, 10; Apoc. 
II, 23; XX, 12. 

5 Cfr. W. Schmidt, Der Kampf 
um die sittliche Welt, pp. 301 sqq. 



a) Ignorance (ignorantia) is the absence of 
knowledge which a person should have.^ The 
civil courts (except in the case of children) do 
not admit ignorance as a mitigating circumstance 
in cases of serious transgression, but proceed on 
the principle that ''ignorance of the law does not 

Moral Theology, on the contrary, acknowl- 
edges the existence of culpable ignorance by 
which responsibility and guilt are diminished. 
The reason is not far to seek. A sin that springs 
from ignorance does not indicate a positive evil 
tendency of the will. That there are peccata 
ignorantiae the New Testament teaches in nu- 
merous passages. Christ prayed for his execu- 
tioners : ''Father, forgive them, for they know 
not what they do."^ In one of the discourses 
reported by St. John, Jesus says: "If I had not 
come and spoken to them, they would not have 
sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin.'' ® 
St. Peter, after accusing the Jews of having 
killed the Author of life, added: "Brethren, I 
know that you did it through ignorance, as did 
also your rulers." ^ St. Paul regrets that he per- 
secuted Christ and His Church, but adds : "I ob- 

« Cfr. E. Taunton, The Law of the 
Church, pp. 36s sq.; J. Hollweck, 
Die kirchlichen Strafgesetze, May- 
cnce 1899, pp. 77 sqq. 

7 Luke XXIII, 34. 

8 John XV, 22. 

9 Acts III, 17. 



tained the mercy of God, because I did it igno- 

rantly in unbelief." ^" 

Note, however, that ignorance can never a to- 
gether excuse any one from performing the duties 
proper to his stat^^of hf e, because every man is 
strictly bound to inform himself with regard to 

these duties." . .• n o:or«;fipc 

b) Inadvertence (inadvertentta) signihes 

the omission of such care as duty requires one 
to take with regard to one's obligations. Cm 
jurisprudence imputes acts of inadvertence that 
nvolve injury to others. Not so Moral Theol- 
ogy Sins committed through inadvertence 
(peccata imdvertentiae) are not altogether im- 
puted because they spring from defective know - 
edge. There can be no guilt in the theological 
sense of the term where there is no dolus, i. e, 
a deliberate intention of violating the law, or 
culpa lata, i. c, criminal carelessness or neglect 
of that ordinary care which every sensible 
person is supposed to exercise in important mat- 

An evil action may be premeditated (malice prepense 
or aLethought). or committed in a fit of passion {ddus 
Z^Zus)' This distinction is important in cases where 
a man takes the life of another. If he acts with malice 

10 I Tim. I, 13. _ 

11 Cfr. Luke XII. 47 8q.; Jat. 

IV, 17. 

12 Cfr Codex luris Can., can. 2199 
sq.; Ex. XXI. 29 sqq.; Numb. 
XXXV. 22 sqq.; Deut. XIX, 4-^. 



aforethought, he is guilty of murder; if carried away by 
passion, his crime is merely man-slaughter. 

Negligence means failure to do something which a 
reasonable man, guided by those considerations that or- 
dinarily regulate the conduct of human affairs, would do, 
or doing something which a prudent and reasonable man 
would not do. Negligence may be slight, ordinary, or 
gross. These principal degrees have been shaded off in 
opposite directions by the Roman jurists and the School- 
men (latissima, latior, lata; levis, levior, levissima)}^ 

c) Custom (consuetudo) or habit is a facility 
acquired in performing certain acts by frequent 
repetition. If a man always acts in the same 
manner, he gradually acquires a certain facility. 
As a determinant of the will, this facility may be 
a means either of virtue or of vice, and as the 
proverb says, often becomes second nature. 


isCfr. V. Patuzzi, Ethica Chri- 
stiana, Vol. V, Bassano 1790, pp. 229 
sq.: "Culpa latissima dolo et fraudi 
aequiparatur, et revera in expresso 
dolo consistit, ut si miles excubias 
habens se dormire Ungat, ut hostes 
ingrediantur. Culpa latior est dolus 
tacitus, ut si custos gregis, qui pot- 
est clamando furem vel lupum fu- 
gare, silet tamen. Culpa vera lata 
est omissio illius diligentiae in rei 
alienae custodia vel damno vitando, 
quam prudentes et cordati viri com- 
muniter adhibere solent in propriis 
rebus curandis, ut si servus nocturno 
tempore ostium domus claudere ne- 
glegat. Levis vero in omissione con- 
sistit illius diligentiae, quam speciali- 
ter adhibere solent viri et patres 
familias diligentiores; ut si quis au- 
reum vas commodatum in suo qui- 
dem cubiculo reponat, clauso etiam 

ostio, sed seris non obductis. Le- 
vissima denique culpa omissionem 
importat illius diligentiae, quam soli 
cautissimi et circumspectione abun- 
dantes solent adhibere, qualis est 
illius qui gemmas in area clauderet, 
sed manu non experiretur vel ex- 
ploraret, num Urmiter occlusa sit." 
— E. Voit, Theologia M oralis. Vol. 
I, 6th ed., Wurzburg 1769, n. 744, 
p. 494: "Culpa latior dicitur dolus 
praesumptus, sive omissio debitae 
diligentiae, ex qua, etsi non omnino 
manifeste colligatur malus nocendi 
animus, prudenter tamen potest prae- 
sumi. Talis est in eo, qui damnum 
proximi non intendit quidem, illud 
tamen praevidet futurum ex actione 
sua vel eius omissione.'* 

14 Cicero, De Finibus, V, c. 25: 

"Consuetudo quasi altera natura." 

Cfr. St. Augustine, Confessiones, 

mu^ii^N <9 J,-*-,~ 



Habit diminishes but does not destroy free-will. 
In so far as a habit is freely acquired, it increases 
responsibility, and in so far as it is good, it aug- 
ments merit. If one has unconsciously acquired 
a bad habit, the sinful acts are not imputable until 
the wickedness of the habit and its acts is real- 
ized. As soon as it is realized, the duty arises 
of rigorously combatting the evil habit. By fall- 
ing back into a bad habit a man incurs grave re- 
sponsibility, because he almost invariably acts 
against his better knowledge and his conduct has 
in it something tending to that state of which our 
Saviour says that it is "worse than the first. 

Acts which are, as it were, mere mechanical 
consequences of a habit, are imputable only in so 
far as the habit itself is voluntary {voluntanum 

in causa). 

d) There are many different kinds of Mental 
Derangement or psychic abnormality. Illu- 
sions, hallucinations, fixed ideas, hypochondria, 
melancholia, hysteria, morbid fear in its various 
forms (especially agoraphobia, i. e., the dread ot 
crossing or being in the midst of open spaces) , se- 

Vni, c. 5, n. 10: "Quippe ex vo- 
luntate perversa facta est libido, et 
dum servitur libidini, facta est con- 
suetudo, et dum consuetudini non 
resistitur, facta est necessitas."-- 
Idem, De Musica, VI, c. 7, «■ ^9' 
"Non frustra consuetudo quasi se- 
cunda et quasi affabricata natura di- 
citur." (Migne, P. L., XXXII, 753, 
,173).— Idem, Serm., 17 (<»'• ^S inter 

Homilias, 50), «• 3 (^- ^» 
XXXVIII, 125).— St. Bernard, De 
Consid., IV, c. 3. n. 8: "Nil tarn 
durum, quod duriori non cedat. 
(P. L., CLXXXII, 777).— Cfr. Jer. 

XIII. 23. , ^ 

i.-, Matth. XII, 43 sqq.; cfr. Prov. 
XXVI, 11; Luke XI, 24 sqq.; Heb. 
X, 26; 2 Pet. II, 20 sqq. 





R ii 

vere nostalgia (homesickness), and all forms of 
quasi-amentia impede the normal exercise of rea- 
son and must therefore be regarded as extenuat- 
ing circumstances, though they do not entirely de- 
stroy free-will unless they develop into actual in- 
sanity. In all such cases medical experts should 
be consulted. Note, however, that theologians 
must sometimes assume moral guilt where 
physicians and lawyers deny the existence of re- 
sponsibility. For while it is quite true that 
the genuine symptoms of insanity are rarely simu- 
lated, that many crimes (especially sexual per- 
versities) are pathological, and that an insuper- 
able disinclination to labor and a slanderous 
tongue may be symptoms of neurasthenia or hys- 
teria, it is equally certain that not all forms of 
mental derangement entirely destroy the freedom 
of the will. 

3. The Consequences of an act (eventus se- 
quent es) are imputable to the agent whenever 
they follow from the act in the ordinary course of 
events and can therefore be foreseen, either defi- 
nitely or at least in confuso, or when they are 
organically connected with the act from which 
they flow and form a moral whole with it. When 
an act that is in itself licit entails evil conse- 
quences which the agent can foresee, these con- 
sequences are imputable to the agent, provided 
the act is neither physically nor morally neces- 

sary. Consequences which follow an act with 
purely physical necessity are not imputable in the 
court of morals, though they can and must be 
reckoned with in secular jurisprudence.^^ 

REAmNGS.— On imputability in general: M. Cronin, The Sci- 
ence of Ethics, Vol. I, pp. 182, 543 sq.— R. I. Holaind, S.J., Nat- 
ural Law and Legal Practice, pp. 84 sqq.— Theo. Meyer, S.J., In- 
stitutiones luris Naturalis, Vol. I, 2nd ed., pp. I73 sqq. 

On ignorance: A. Boudinhon in the Catholic Encyclopedia, 
Vol. V, p. 682.— J. F. Delany, ibid., Vol. VII, pp. 648 sqq.— Th. 
Slater, S.J., A Manual of Moral Theology, Vol. I, pp. 30 sqq.— 
E. Taunton, The Law of the Church, pp. 365 sq.— A. Sweens, 
Theologia Moralis Fundamentalis, pp. 71 sqq.— A. Tanquerey, 
S.S., Synopsis Theologiae Moralis, pp. 48 sqq. 

On negligence : Thos. Slater, S.J., A Manual of Moral The- 
ology, Vol. I, pp. 27, 409 sq., 539.-J. F. Delany in the Catholic 
Encyclopedia, Vol. X, p. 737- 

On mental derangement as a diminuent of responsibility: A. 
Huber, Die Hemmnisse der Willensfreiheit, 2nd ed., pp. 214 sqq. 
—Ig. Familler, Pastoral-Psychiatrie, Freiburg 1898.— S. Weber, 
Zwangsgedanken und Zwangszust'dnde, Paderborn 1903.— R. v. 
Kraft-Ebing, Psychopathia Sexualis, 13th ed., Stuttgart i907.~W. 
Wille, Die Psychosen des Puhertdtsalters, Vienna 1898.— K. Hilty, 
Ueher Neurasthenic, Berne i897.-Krauss, Der Kampf gegen die 
Verhrechensursachen, pp. 295 sqq.-J. Bessmer, S.]., Storungen 
im Seelenleben, 2nd ed., Freiburg 1907.-IDEM, Die Grundlagen 
der Seelenstorungen, Freiburg i9o6.-Th. Braun, Die religiose 
Wahnhildung, Tubingen 1906, pp. 13 sqq.-Jas. J. Walsh, bcru- 
ples. Obsessions, and Dreads," in the Ecclesiastical Review, Vol. 
LVI (1917), No. 4, pp. 36o-375.-0'Malley-Walsh, Essays m 
Pastoral Medicine, New York 1906, pp. 211 sqq. 

16 Cfr. St. Thomas, Summa The- pfert, Moraltheologie, Vol. I, 6th ed.. 
ohgica, la 2ae, qu. 20, art. 5; Go- PP. "2 sqq. 






By the morality of an act is understood its in- 
trinsic relation to the moral order and to reason. 
Every human act, in concreto, is either good or 
bad. It is good if it conforms to the moral law; 
it is bad if it violates that law/ 

The sources of morality (fontes sive principia 
moralitatis),i. e., the factors or principles which 
determine the relation of an act to the moral law, 
are: (i) the object or matter of the act, (2) 
its form, intention or end (finis), and (3) the at- 
tending circumstances. 

Generally speaking, an act is good if all three 
of these factors cooperate in making it conform- 
able to the right order; it is evil if any one of 
them is wrong or sinful. Hence the Scholastic 
axiom: ''Bonum ex integra causa, malum ex 
quocunque defectu/' ^ 

1 Cfr. M. Cronin, The Science of 
Ethics, Vol. I. 

2 Cfr. Pseudo-Dionysius, De Div. 
Nomin., c. 4, § 30 (Migne, P. G., 
Ill, 729). — St. Thomas, Summa 
Theol., la 2ae, qu. 19, art. 6, ad i : 

Dionysius dicit: Bonum ex integra 

causa, malum autem ex singulari- 
bus defectibus." — Ibid., art. 7, ad 3: 
"Malum contingit ex singularibus de- 
fectibus, bonum autem ex tota et in- 
tegra causa.'* (Cfr. qu. 18, art, 4, 
ad 3). 

I. The Object.— The object of an act 
(obiectum materiale) is that act itself, con- 
sidered in the abstract. Though there are ob- 
jects that are in themselves indifferent {e. g., eat- 
ing and drinking), as a rule the object of an act 
has an inherent morality of its own, which causes 
the will of the agent to be either good or bad, 
according as the object is good {e. g., prayer, 
fasting), or bad {e, g., lying, stealing).^ Objec- 

8 St. Thomas, Summa Theol., la 
2ae, qu. 18, art. 8: "Actus omnis 
habet speciem ab obiecto, et actus hu- 
manus, qui dicitur moralis, habet spe- 
ciem ab obiecto relato ad principium 
actuum humanorum, quod est ratio. 
Unde si obiectum actus includat ali- 
^uid, quod conveniat ordini rationis, 
erit actus bonus secundum suam 
speciem, sicut dare eleemosynam in- 
digenti; si autem includat aliquid, 
quod repugnat ordini rationis, erit 
actus malus secundum speciem, sicut 
furari, quod est tollere aliena. Con- 
tingit autem, quod obiectum actus 
non includit aliquid pertinens ad 
ordinem rationis, sicut levare festu- 
cam de terra, ire ad campum et hu- 
iusmodi, et tales actus secundum spe- 
ciem suam sunt indifferentes." — 
Ibid., art. 9: "Oportet quod quilibet 
individualis actus habeat aliquam cir- 
cumstantiam, per quam trahatur ad 
bonum vel ad malum, ad minus ex 
parte intentionis finis. Quum enim 
rationis sit ordinare, actus a ratione 
deliberativa procedens, si non sit ad 
debitum finem ordinatus, ex hoc ipso 
repugnat rationi et habet rationem 
mali; si vero ordinetur ad debitum 
finem, convenit cum ordine rationis, 
Unde habet rationem boni. Necesse 
est autem quod vel ordinetur vel non 

ordinetur ad debitum finem* Unde 
necesse est omnem actum hominis 
a deliberativa ratione procedentem in 
individuo consideratum bonum esse 
vel malum. Si autem non procedit 
a ratione deliberativa, sed ex qua- 
darn imaginatione isicut quum aliquis 
fricat barbam vel movet manum aut 
pedem), talis actus non est proprie 
loquendo moralis vel hurrianus, quum 
hoc habeat actus a ratione, et sic erit 
indifferens, quasi extra genus mo- 
ralium actuum existens." — Cfr. St. 
Ambrose, Expos, in Ps., 118, s. 14, 
n. 23 : "Omnia cum ratione \.facias'\, 
nihil sine ratione, quia non es irra- 
tionabilis, o homo, sed rationabilis.'* 
(Migne, P. L., XV, 1400).— St. Je- 
rome, Epist., 112 (a/. 89), n. 16: 
"Neque enim indifferentia sunt inter 
bonum et malum, sicut philosophi 
disputant. Bonum est continentia, 
malum est luxuria. Inter utrumque 
indifferens ambulare, digerere alvi 
stercora, capitis naribus purgamenta 
proiicere, sputis rheumata iacere. 
Hoc nee bonum nee malum est; sive 
enim feceris sive non feceris, nee 
iustitiam habebis nee iniustitiam, 
Observare autem legis caeremonias, 
non potest esse indifferens, sed aut 
bonum est, aut malum est," (P. L., 

xxn, 926). 




■qi!flji«ii. iji J 





tively indifferent acts become good or bad 
when they are willed with a good or bad inten- 
tion, or when good or bad circumstances surround 

According to its gravity in the moral order, an 
act is called materia gravis or levis. 

In regard to their object or matter human acts are 
either intrinsically good or intrinsically bad, according 
as their objects are good or bad in themselves. Intrinsi- 
cally good acts may be good either absolutely or rela- 
tively. An absolutely good act (secundum se bonus), 
which can never be bad, is, e, g,, the love of God. A rela- 
tively good act (in se bonus) is one that may be good 
or bad according to the reason or motive which inspire 
or the accidental conditions or circumstances which sur- 
round it. Such relatively good acts are, for example, 
prayer, fasting, almsgiving. 

Intrinsically bad acts are such as ruti counter to the 
moral order by their very nature. Some are absolutely 
bad and can never become good, as, e. g,, hatred of God, 
perjury. Others are bad merely because the agent has 
no right to perform them or because they are a source of 
danger or temptation, e, g,, manslaughter, viewing un- 
chaste pictures. Acts of the latter kind are called rela- 
tively bad. A relatively bad act may become good by 
virtue of special conditions or circumstances, e, g., self- 
defense or study. 

Extrinsically bad acts are bad simply because they 
are forbidden. As Gopfert rightly remarks, however, 
"the terms 'extrinsically good' and 'extrinsically bad' do 
not denote merely the conformity or nonconformity of 
an act to the law, regardless of its intrinsic ethical char- 

acter ; but they indicate that the relation existing between 
such an act and the moral order owes its existence to a 
command or prohibition of the lawgiver." * 

II. The End. — By the end of an action (ob- 
iectum formale) is meant the reason or motive 
which induces the agent to perform that action, 
or, to employ a more familiar term, the intention 
with which he acts.^ 

I. An intention may be actual, virtual, or ha- 
bitual. It is actual if it is elicited immediately 
before the act is performed and with direct ref- 
erence to the same. It is virtual if its force is 
borrowed from a previous act of the will, which 
is accounted as continuing in effect. It is ha- 
bitual if it once existed and has never been re- 

To be morally good an act must be inspired by 
an actual, or at least a virtual, good intention. 
A merely habitual intention is not sufficient for 
this purpose because it may exist in an uncon- 
scious subject, and is strictly speaking non-exist- 
ent while the action is being performed. 

The Catholic Church exhorts her children to 
make a good intention frequently, at least every 

4 Gopfert, Moraltheologie, Vol. I, 
6th ed., p. 191. 

sCfr. Matth. VI, 1-8.— St. Au- 
gustine, De Serm. Dom, in Monte, 
II, c. 13, n. 45: "Non ergo quid 
quisque facial, sed quo animo faciat, 
considerandum est. Hoc est enim 

lumen in nobis, quia hoc nobis mani- 
festum est, bono animo nos facere 
quod facimus.** (Migne, P. L., 
XXXIV, 1289).— St. Bernard. D* 
Baptismo, c. 2, n. 6 (P. L,, 
CLXXXII, 1035). 



day, in order to sanctify all their actions by re- 
ferring them directly to God.® There is no 
nobler motto than, ''AH for the greater honor and 
glory of God." ^ 

The end of an action may be primary or sec- 
ondary, ultimate or intermediate, natural or su- 

2. As regards the influence of the intention on 
the morality of an act, note the following consid- 
erations : 

a) An act that is morally indifferent, so far as 
its object is concerned, becomes good or bad by 
the intention of the agent. Thus the act of eating, 
which is in itself indifferent, becomes good if done 
for the purpose of sustaining life and strength, 
bad if done exclusively for pleasure.® 

b) An act that is objectively good {e.g., 
prayer, almsgiving) becomes bad if done for a 
wicked purpose. Conversely, an objectively good 
act derives an increase of moral value from a 
good intention.® 

c) A materially bad act {e. g., a lie) is never 

6 I Cor. X, 31; I Pet. IV. n; 
Col. Ill, 17; cfr. John XV. 8; Phil. 
I, 10 sq. — St. Ignatius of Antioch, 
Epist. ad Poly carp., c. 51 U&vra 
(Is rifi^v Beov yiviaOcj. (Funk, 
Patres Apost., I, 2nd ed., 292, 8). 
— St. Augustine, Enarr. in Ps., 34, 
8. 2, n. 16: "Totd die Deum lau- 
dare quis duratT Su^gero reme- 
dium, unde totd die laudes Deum, si 
t>is, Quidquid egeris, bene age et 
l^udasti D^um," (Migne, P. L., 

XXXVI, 341).— On the good intcn- 
tion as a requisite of supernatural 
merit see Pohle-Preuss, Grace, Ac- 
tual and Habitual, pp. 413 sqq- 

7 Cfr. H. Lammens, "L'AntiquitS 
de la Formule *0mnia ad Maiorem 
Dei Gloriam,'" in the Revue d§ 
I'Orient Chretien, VIII (Paris 

1903). pp« 477 sqq- 

8 Eccles. X, 17. 

»Cfr. Matth. V, 16; VI, 1 sqq.; 
XXIII, 5, 15. 



rendered good by a good intention. The reason 
is that a good end cannot be attained by evil 
means.'^ No advantage that could possibly be 
gained by sin is large enough to outweigh the in- 
jury inflicted on the moral law. Christ Himself 
said: 'What doth it profit a man, if he gain 
the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own 
soul? Or what exchange shall a man give for 
his soul?" ^^ It is never allowed to do evil that 
good may come, which is but another way of 
saying that the end never justifies the means.*^ 
"This,'^ says Father Slater, SJ., "is the teach- 
ing of Holy Scripture and of the Catholic 
Church, nor have the Jesuits any other doc- 
trine different from that of the Church. Father 
Dasbach promised to give anyone two thousand 
florins who would prove in open court that the 
Jesuits had tve^ taught that the end justifies the 
means. Count Paul von Hoensbroech undertook 
to do so, but he failed in his suit when it was tried 
at Cologne, in the spring of iQOS-" ^^ 

10 Cfr. Job XIII, 7; Rom. Ill, 8; 
VI, I.— St. Augustine, De Mendacio, 
c. 21, n. 42: *'Ad sempiternam sa- 
lutem nullus ducendus est opitu- 
lante mendacio," (Migne, P. L., 

XL, 516). 

11 Matth. XVI, 26. 

12 Cfr. St. Augustine, Contra 
Mendacium, c. 7» n. 18: "Interest 
quidem plurimum qua causa, quo 
fine, qua intentione quid fiat, sed ea 
quae constat esse peccata, nulla bo- 
nae causae obtentu, nullo quasi bono 

fine, nulla velut bona intentione fa- 
cienda sunt." (Migne, P. L., XL, 

13 Th. Slater, S.J., A Manual of 
Moral Theology, Vol. I, p. 49 — 
Cfr. P. Roh, S.J., Das alte Lied: 
"Der Zweck heiligt die Mittel," 3rd 
ed., Freiburg 1894; M. Reichmann, 
S.J., Der Zweck heiligt die Mitteh 
Freiburg 1903; Heiner, Fidelis, Das- 
bach, and other writers. — B. 
Duhr, S.J., Jesuitenfabeln, 4th ed., 
p^. 542 sqq.; J. Mausbach, Catholic 





However, while the sinfulness of ail act is never 
neutralized, it may be diminished by the intention 
of the agent, if the choice of means results from 
imperfect knowledge or is made for the sake of a 
good purpose. To choose a bad means for the 
attainment of a good end manifestly indicates 
less malice than to choose a bad means for its own 
sake.^^ An apparently good purpose may, on the 
other hand, augment the wickedness of an act 

Moral Teaching and its Antagonists, 
pp. 92 sqq.; Pilatus (Dr. V. Nau- 
mann, a Protestant), Der Jesuitis- 
mus, Ratisbon 1905, pp. 280 sqq.; F. 
Heiner, Der Jesuitistnus, 3rd ed., Pa- 
derborn 1902, pp. 81 sqq.; Idem, Die 
Jesuiten und ihre Gegner, Munich 
1906, pp. 73 sqq.; Catholic Encyclo- 
pedia, Vol. Ill, p. 87; Vol. XIV, pp. 
104 sq.; Brou, S.J., Les Jesuites de 
la Legende, Paris 1906; Concerning 
Jesuits, London 1902; Maynard, The 
Studies and Teaching of the iSociety 
of Jesus, London 1855. 

14 Cfr. St. Augustine, Enchiri- 
dion, c. 18, n. 6: *'Mihi videtur 
peccatum quidem esse omne menda- 
cium, sed multum interesse, quo ani- 
mo et quibus de rebus quisque men- 
tiatur. Non enim sic peccat ille, qui 
consulendi, quomodo ille, qui no- 
cendi voluntate mentitur; aut 
ihaudi vero tantum nocet, qui via- 
torem mentiendo in diversum iter 
mittit, quantum is, qui viam vitae 
mendacio fallente depravat." 

(Migne, P. L., XL, 240).— Idem, 
Contra Mendac, c. 8, n. 19: "Dicet 
aliquis: ergo aequandus est fur qui- 
libet ei furi qui misericordiae volun- 
tate furaturf Quis hoc dixeritf 
Sed horum duorum non ideo est 
quisquam bonus quia peior est unus, 
Peior est enim, qui concupiscendo 

quam qui miserando furatur; sed si 
furtum omne peccatum est, ab 
omni furto est abstinendum." (P. L., 
XL, 529). — St. Bernard., De Praec, 
et Dispens., c. 7, n. 13: *' Interest 
sane, qua causa, quo affectu, qu& in- 
tentione, quo praecipiente in quove 
praecepto malum hoc committatur. 
Et quidem nuUam prorsus inobedi- 
entiam dico parvi ducendam, non ta- 
men omnem pari aestimandam peri- 
culo, Enimvero mandatum Dei est: 
Non occides [Ex. 20, jj], Fac ergo 
duos homicidas, et unum quidem 
spoliandi cupiditate, alterum vero 
necessitate sese defendendi facinus 
perpetrasse. An non hie satis evi- 
denter inter lepram et lepram causa 
separat, faciens utique disparem 
valde culpam unius eiusdemque 
transgressionisf Quid vero, si hunc 
subita ira, ilium studiosa malitia aut 
vetus odium forte ad idem scelus im- 
puleritf Num quidnam simili pen- 
sandum erit iudicio, quod tam dissi- 
mili factum constabit affectu f Nil 
deinde incestius obscoeniusve quam 
illas filias Lot paternum usurpasse 
concubitum [Gn. 19* 3^3^^* ^* tamen 
quis non videat, quantum evacuaverit 
aut attenuaverit turpis nefandique 
reatum HagitU pietas intentionis et 
intentio pietatisf** (Migne, P. L., 
CLXXXII, 868).— The legend that 

because of the intrinsic contradiction contained 
in the attempt to employ a bad means for the at- 
tainment of a good end, e. g., if one meant to 
honor God by committing murder or fornication. 

III. The Circumstances of an Action.— 
By the circumstances of an action are understood 
certain accidental conditions which determine and 
distinguish it from others of the same kind.'^ 

There are seven such conditions, enumerated in 
the old-time versus memorialis: 

"Quis, quid, ubi, quibus auxiliis, cur, quomodo, quandof 
(Who, what, where, when, by what means, why, and how?) 

Some circumstances (circumstantiae gradum 
moralitatis mut antes) merely augment or dim- 
inish the malice of an act, whereas others com- 
pletely transform its mora